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Controversial plans to sell off Cheadle Town Council Offices have been attacked

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Stephen Ellis outside the council building in Cheadle.

Stephen Ellis outside the council building in Cheadle.

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A CHEADLE councillor has attacked and condemned plans to sell off Cheadle Town Council's offices.

Former district council cabinet member for property, Councillor Stephen Ellis, slammed the move as bad for taxpayers across the Moorlands, who he said were being "sold down the river".

Mr Ellis said the sale details were on the council's confidential pink paper so he was unable to release specific details of the five bids or the five people/parties making the respective bids, or any other information about the property.

He said: "We don't have many historic or prominent buildings left in Cheadle.

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But the Cheadle Town Council offices is one of them.

" It retains all its character and features as much today as on the day it opened.

"This building is part of us as a town and it's a building people feel great affection for.

"It's a complete travesty that the district council can even contemplate selling off our history and heritage – and at such a knock down price."

He added: "The district council retains offices in Leek and in Biddulph, but Cheadle is being neglected and left in the lurch with no facilities.

"These offices belong to the people of Cheadle and were the headquarters of Cheadle Rural District Council.

"The district council has spent a fortune improving its facilities at Biddulph Town Hall and has recently spent loads of money improving its offices with new kitchens and toilets at Moorlands House in Leek.

"Yet the people of Cheadle are being given an almighty giant slap in the face as the district council contemplates selling off our council offices.

"Cheadle will be the only Moorlands town with no civic offices."

Mr Ellis said that the council offices had been put up for sale at £300,000 – a sum equivalent to numerous domestic properties in Cheadle.

He added: "Five bids have been received with the highest allegedly reported to be around £250,000 – nearly 20 per cent below the underestimated market value.

"That's not a good deal for Moorlands taxpayers. It's totally wrong and it stinks.

"If five investors can come forward and could spend £250,000 to buy the site for viable operation as community use, apartments, offices, weddings etc, as well as all retaining the council chamber.

"It begs the question why the district council, which already owns the building and land, can't do exactly the same and keep this public building in public ownership and for the public's benefit.

"There's been a total lack of will, desire and vision from the outset and this sell off is selling out the people of Cheadle."

A Staffordshire Moorlands District Council spokesman told the Post & Times earlier this year: "The council is marketing the property for sale because it no longer requires the building and needs to reduce unnecessary costs to the taxpayer.

"Cheadle Town Council was given the opportunity to take on the building but decided not to pursue the offer. Any future use will need to comply with the relevant planning policies and the recently adopted Cheadle Master Plan."

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