CHESHIRE East has come under fire from several residents for holding next week’s full council meeting at a venue which is not accessible by public transport.

The meeting, which takes place on Wednesday, July 17, will be held at Jodrell Bank – the third occasion the venue has been used in as many years.

The council says this is a cost-saving exercise as it doesn’t have to pay to use the conference room.

Several members of the public have taken to social media to object or contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

One said: “This appears to be a deliberate attempt to silence the voices of those who depend on public transportation and limit the participation of the community in the democratic process.”

Another said: “It is not good enough when something so important needs discussing re the LGA peer review. Residents who use public transport can’t get there.”

Another resident added: “There are many other free buildings they can use in their large asset base. Let’s at least consider the public here.”

The council says holding its meeting at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) facility  ‘presents a good opportunity for the council to be seen to meet at a different location to those which have previously been regularly used for meetings'.

A Cheshire East spokesperson said: “For many years, venues have been used for council meetings which are in the borough's main towns – rightly providing opportunity for those living near those towns to attend the meetings.

“But Cheshire East comprises a wide geographical area and, even when meetings are held at one of the regular venues, this is still a considerable distance to travel from other parts of the borough.

“It is also important for the council to take the opportunity to meet at a venue which is accessible to those living in a part of the borough which has only rarely been used for council meetings.”

He added: “The SKA facility is an internationally important, premier scientific site, which was attracted to the borough with the council's support.

“Council members will have the opportunity to see the venue's facilities at first hand and also to take advantage of its meeting facilities.

“Importantly, in this time of great pressures on the finances of all councils, meeting at the SKA facility come at nil-cost to the council, unlike other venues.

“The council and the SKA facility will welcome members of the public to attend Wednesday's meeting, not only to listen to the proceedings in person but also to see the facility at first-hand.

“The meeting will be live-streamed and a recording made available for afterwards.”

One local resident said relying on the council’s unreliable recordings wasn’t good enough.

She posted: “Cheshire East audio recordings are very often poor, for example today [Monday, July 8] the recording of the children and families committee meeting that had to be abandoned as the agenda appendices were not published, the audio is inaudible.”

The meeting of the full council takes place at 11am on Wednesday, July 17, at the SKA Observatory, Jodrell Bank.