Wednesday, May 12, 2004

IT'S ALL BEEN A TERRIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING... APPARENTLY: We've just got an email from Morag Milne, although it's signed Kieran Quinn - Tameside councillor ("executive" councillor, no less - presumably she has a special leather folder with pens in) - about the fate of the Witchwood in Ashton-Under-Lyme:

Can I thank everyone who has contacted me regarding the above venue, I cannot answer each message individually because of the volume of responses however it is pleasing to know that Tameside has a venue worthy of such a campaign.
As I am sure you are now aware there never was a threat from the Council to close the Witchwood. But I can understand how this misunderstanding happened
The Council and ASK - the developer - are committed to seeing the whole area redeveloped which is why a CPO for the whole area was issued. This has enabled discussions to take place with various land/property owners and I know that ASK is close to agreeing with the Witchwood proprietors the necessary improvement that need to be carried out on the building so that the Council can issue an exclusion agreement keeping the Witchwood where it is delivering its, original and unique blend of music and entertainment for many years to come and I hope that when this area is developed you will not only continue to visit the Witchwood but also the many and new businesses that we intend to attract.
Thank you for your concern
Kieran Quinn - Executive Councillor Tameside MBC

We're glad that it's all been a "terrible misunderstanding" - we're not quite sure why it takes a Compulsary Purchase Order if all that was being done was asking The Witchwood to tart itself up a bit; surely the correct approach would have been to ask the current owners to make any improvements deemed neccesary, and then, if they failed, to seek CPOs - this seems to have been like taking out an execution warrant, and then saying "but if you change your ways, we won't actually need to kill you." The nicest thing we can assume is that council doesn't want to be seen backtracking, so let's hope that this really is an end to it. I think we'll all be watching what happens next quite closely, though, to make sure no more - ah - "misunderstandings" occur.

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