Cllr Kevin Hickson, Leader of Crewe Town Council sends a clear message in response to issues raised in the Crewe Chronicle last week. (Text of letter below).
On behalf of Crewe Town Council I wish to respond to the letters printed in your paper in the last edition criticising our decision to erect new ‘Welcome to Crewe’ signs. We welcome the feedback if only because it shows some misunderstanding and I would like to address directly some of the points raised.
Most importantly is that of cost. The signs have cost the tax payer of Crewe nothing at all. The money came from the Department of Communities and Local Government in a fund earmarked for new councils. We were the first council in the country to be offered money from this particular fund, a fact of which we are proud. The money was set aside specifically for means of improving the visibility of the new council and the town and could not be used for repairing potholes, pavements etc which are the responsibility of Cheshire East Council.
All towns and villages have welcome signs. Some of them simply state the place names but others have messages on them as well as historic coats of arms or locally designed logos. The signs are designed to offer a permanent ‘welcome’ alongside temporary messages highlighting forthcoming events in the town. The aim of the signs is to welcome people to Crewe, a town we should all be proud of.
We agree with the comments made about the poor condition of the town centre and are working to improve it. We want to see more people coming back into the town centre. This needs joined up thinking. We are organising festivals and street entertainment and will invest in summer plants to improve the appearance of the town centre and in a programme of Christmas festivities.
We have asked Cheshire East Council to let us take over the market as we have plans to revive it. We have also asked for space in the Municipal Buildings to create a town centre museum. Their delay and opposition on these matters is extremely unfortunate in holding up our ambitious plans to regenerate the town centre. We also want to work with Cheshire East on public transport and traffic calming measures.
The signs were designed and installed by Cheshire East Council and we are grateful to the staff we worked with to do this. The boundaries may have surprised some. This is because Leighton is not part of the parish of Crewe. Other signs are located as close to the boundary as was safe to do so. We are reviewing the location of each sign.
The Crewe Town Council logo was the winning design in a local competition aimed at younger people as a further way of fostering civic pride. The logo depicts one of the few historic buildings we have left, a building clearly recognisable to local residents.
While we welcome comments from the members of the public and would encourage a permanent dialogue with the people we represent, the politically motivated attacks from Conservatives at Cheshire East Council (the comments from Cllr Bebbington are exactly the same as previous comments from his Leader, Cllr Jones) can only do damage to the town and its local council. It is especially disappointing that they have chosen to attack the initiative of the town council rather than those who defaced the signs within 48 hours of their erection. Working together with local residents we look forward to improving the town for all concerned and ignore those who are prepared to do it down to score cheap political points. Let us make Crewe a town we can all be proud of once again.