A campaign encouraging people to ‘shop local’ has been hit by a blunder after posters were put up urging residents to go elsewhere.
The signs are part of the One Stockport initiative, which aims to help the borough ‘build back better’ as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
But a bungled roll-out saw a poster urging people to shop in Cheadle Hulme put up in Romiley, then replaced by another telling shoppers to visit Marple before finally being replaced with the correct one.
A similar mishap occurred in Cheadle Hulme, where locals were encouraged to spend their cash in Cheadle Heath.
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Stockport council used advertising company Global to carry out the work and it is understood the firm has accepted responsibility for the blunders and replaced posters at no extra cost.
In total five posters were put up in the wrong areas.
The controlling Labour group has angrily rejected Liberal Democrat accusations of being ‘asleep at the wheel’, describing criticisms as ‘ridiculous nit-picking’ and not constructive.
However, while supporting the principles behind the One Stockport campaign, the Lib Dems claim its launch has been ‘mishandled’.
Coun Mark Roberts, who represents Bredbury Green and Romiley, said: “I completely understand the anger of local shopkeepers who have worked really hard to get our community through the Covid lockdown only to have their local shoppers ‘signposted’ to other district centres. “
He added: “ I’ve felt very proud of my community but this poster fiasco has felt like a kick in the teeth that could have been avoided with better oversight from the current Labour administration.
“Some residents think it is a terrible waste of money to have launched the campaign in such an ineffective way, given the current financial position the council finds itself in.
“Apparently there are posters like this across the borough. I’d love to know where the ones encouraging people to shop and support the brilliant businesses here in Romiley are!”
Lib Dem leader Mark Hunter added that Labour had been ‘found wanting yet again’, adding: “If they can’t manage to put a few posters up properly, what hope is there that they can run the council effectively?”
But Coun David Meller, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, has hit back at what he sees as Lib Dem opportunism.
“It is very annoying this has happened but it’s not the council’s fault that Global have mucked up here. We provided everything they needed, it’s just been a fault on their part and I think they are quite embarrassed about it as well,” he said.
“It’s disappointing they don’t want to be constructive and are resorting to things that, really, are ridiculous nit-picking on things that are outside the council’s control.
He added that the One Stockport campaign was not intended to be political, but a way of bringing people together again and getting businesses back on their feet.
“It’s meant to be a positive campaign, looking to build back better and reconnect the community of Stockport and get people confident in the borough again,” he said.
“Its not a case of us being asleep behind the wheel. In a matter of weeks we have been working with businesses and other groups to build this up from scratch. It’s testament to all those involved that this has got off the ground in such a short space of time.”
Global declined to comment but it is understood all posters in the wrong locations have now been replaced.
Regular updates and more information on the One Stockport campaign can be found at onestockport.co.uk