HUNDREDS of people in a Cheshire village joined together with a horse-drawn funeral carriage to protest car parking charges on Saturday.

The hearse headed a demonstration of more than 300 people in Audlem who were protesting Cheshire East council’s plans to introduce a charge to park in the village.

The move has been met with angry action by villagers, leading to the demonstration through the High Street, which Brian Bugeja, co-ordinator of the march, believes is crucial to opposing the move.


He said: “This is a very important thing to do to carry out the march because Cheshire East needs to see that the people of Audlem are against these charges.

“It will have massive implications for us if these charges come through – the car park is unique as we don’t have any others in the village.

Whitchurch Herald: Christine Johnson and Stephanie Richardson as 'grim reapers' before the march. Christine Johnson and Stephanie Richardson as 'grim reapers' before the march. (Image: Newsquest)

“It’s our only car park – it’s not just going to impact upon the shops but it’s also going to affect the clinic, it’s used by the cemetery, it’s used by the public hall and to go to the post office.

“Parents use it to watch their children train in football in the park too, and also to take their kids to school.

“It has massive implications on all of this and all of this will start to cost money, and it will cause stress especially if there’s going to be a time limit.

“It will impact on our way of life.”

Mr Bugeja added that the demonstration is an act of defiance by villagers as they aim to fight what he believes has been a long period of inaction.

Whitchurch Herald: The demonstration passes through Audlem. The demonstration passes through Audlem. (Image: Newsquest)

“We’re going to make it plain that we’ve had enough,” he added.

“There’s a lot of things not happening that should be happening – we have a road blocked currently because of an issue that’s been going on for five years.

“As soon as it rains, the road floods and then it’s mayhem.


“We’ve had traffic lights on road for a year and a half because the road has collapsed – they have tried to fix it, but who knows how much they’ve spent, but it’s still flooding.

“I understand that council tax can only be raised by five per cent because I don’t know where it’s going but we’re not getting the return we expect.

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“This is another stealth tax.

“This is drastic action to raise attention to the charges and it’s the next step to show Cheshire East that it’s not just me, or 10 people – it’s the whole of Audlem that is against it.”

Cheshire East carried out a consultation on the charges in September this year.