This week, we make our predictions for 2014. Unfortunately, events in Cheshire East have been so bizarre in 2013 that we’ve had to make some quite wild guesses…
JANUARY: Cheshire East Council releases the complete report into the Lyme Green fiasco.
The full Lyme Green report — the council had previously only released a redacted version — lays the blame at the door of Daleks, who beamed into the council HQ late one night and left scribbled instructions on the back of a napkin.
Council leader Michael Jones tells a Press conference: “I believe in openness and honesty, so I’m very happy to publish this full report into Lyme Green, which clearly states that it was due to Daleks. It exonerates all officers from blame, even those we sacked, and all councillors, particularly myself and other leading Tories who will be in need of your votes next year.
“I hope this draws a line under the matter.”
FEBRUARY: Cheshire East Council’s new spirit of openness continues when for the first time it admits the real reason for its lack of a five-year housing supply — the original policy document was eaten by the council dog.
“We stayed up all night writing it out,” Congleton’s Roland Domleo, who was deputy leader at the time, tells a Press conference. “But when we came to hand it in, it was all chewed up.”
Council leader Michael Jones adds: “I didn’t know we even had a council dog, so you can’t blame me for that. I told you all I would be making a fresh start and that heads would roll when they weren’t good enough, so that dog has gone.”
Coun Jones concedes it was “a little unfortunate” that the council only had one copy of the plan, but explains: “That’s the fault of the UKIP councillors who are elected in the 2015 elections.
“As I explained last month, we had Daleks in the building so you must expect a few fluctuations in the space-time continuum.
“Voters can only avoid this happened by not voting for UKIP in 2015. If you vote Tory and we all get back in, the dog won’t eat the plan, which means we will always have had a five-year housing supply and so the current planning applications will cease to exist.”
As journalists look baffled, he expands: “This will be explained in our manifesto, demonstrating our commitment to openness, honesty and clarity.”
MARCH: Staffordshire Moorlands District Council complains that it was omitted once again from this column of seasonal predictions. Council leader Simon Baker complains: “I realise we don’t spend all year making stupid mistakes and then covering them up, and that we also fail to make failures that are so bad they’re almost like satirical inventions, but we still feel a bit left out.”
“I can pretend my name’s Tom Baker if you want a tenuous Dalek link,” he adds wistfully.
APRIL: the Information Commissioner rules that Cheshire East Council must release its planning agendas to the public. The council had said it was no longer making the documents public “because all the housing applications in them make us look stupid”.
Council deputy leader Dave Brown said: “In our standing orders, which we amended last week, it clearly states that anything that makes the council look silly or costs us votes can be kept from the public domain.”
But he admits: “This ruling is a blow. Our next plan was to keep all our names secret and hide the council HQ.”
MAY: Sainsbury’s in Biddulph admits that it is waiting for the stars to align before letting out the empty units at its Biddulph store.
“We’ve tried to fob people off with the usual tosh about a weak market but that’s no longer working,” a spokesman admitted.
“We’re actually waiting for Mercury to be aligned with Uranus, Venus to be in the ascent and Mars to be the lesser polyp. We have no idea what this means but we hope it’s a firm rebuttal to those who say the offer of units was just a sop to the planning officers and we have no intention of letting them out.”
JUNE: Someone at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council fails to switch the coffee machine off, and a smell of old coffee greets staff when they arrive for work. (Is that enough of a mention, SMDC?).
JULY: Scaramanga reveals that he is looking at Biddulph Moor as a centre for his new subterranean centre for world domination.
He tells the Chronicle: “I prefer out-of-the-way places, like lost islands in the Pacific and the hollowed-out shells of volcanoes, but with everyone staring up at the sky and obsessing about wind turbines round here, I reckon I can built an extensive underground complex and nuclear weapons launch facility without anyone noticing.”
He adds: “It’ll be good for the local economy, too — Baker’s will get the contract for bussing in my silver-suited faceless minions, at least until James Bond kills them all. I’ve got Garside’s on stand-by though, so that’s ok.”
AUGUST: developers obtain planning permission for 250 homes at the bottom of Brereton quarry. “We spotted a gap in the map and realised there was a field left that we hadn’t built on. We were so busy thinking about the money, er, I mean the potential benefit to homeowners, that we never noticed the blue shading for a lake,” a spokesman says.
SEPTEMBER: A stunned silence reverberates round Cheshire East Council offices after someone makes the right decision.
A shocked eyewitness tells the Chronicle: “We were all not working quite normally when, out of the blue, during the course of a conversation, an officer made the right decision.
“He was so shocked he put the phone down and sat there white-faced for a while before telling us: ‘I think I’ve just not dropped a clanger.”
“We tried to tell him it was ok and that he wouldn’t get into trouble but he’s obviously worried about his career. Cheshire East will think twice about employing him after this.”
OCTOBER: large parts of Congleton disappear after Cheshire East Council hires Vogons to clear the route of the new by-pass. The Vogons, hitherto a fictional alien race from the planet Vogsphere in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, submitted the lowest tender and appeared “very charming” when they handed in their documentation, a spokesman said.
“They were so nice we decided to skip the normal tendering procedure and just hand them the money,” the spokesman added. “Vogons are bulkier than humans, mindlessly bureaucratic, officious and widely disliked, so we thought they’d fit right in.”
NOVEMBER: in a plan to save money, Prime Minister David Cameron announces that miniature MPs will be drafted in Parliament. “They’re so small we can have 10 or 12 per office and they eat so little we can shut down nearly all the House of Commons cafes,” the PM says. Pictured is Mr Cameron with one of the new MMPs (Mini MPs).
DECEMBER: further delays are announced in implementing the delays needed to remedy the delays in the delays at Sandbach’s delayed business park, now downgraded from science park or shopping village to large cattery.
“We’re hoping to start work in the distant future,” a spokesman for the developers said, “though we expect to feature in your spoof reviews of the year for many years to come.
“We’ll still be finished before Congleton’s Bridestones2 development, so I don’t know why you’re poking fun at us.”