Listeners to BBC Radio 2 were no doubt astonished to hear Stuart Hall's tirade against the "Gestapo" traffic wardens of Alderley Edge who ticketed him and fellow mourners whilst they were attending the funeral of celebrated local journalist Duncan Measor, otherwise known as the Manchester Evening News's long-time diary editor, "Mr Manchester".
Commenting that Duncan would be turning in his grave to see how callously they were treated for parking on single yellow lines in Ryley's Lane when on-street spaces and car parks rapidly filled up, he went on to remark how "the Gestapo army" which had descended on the village in recent times are driving car borne shoppers away, destroying the ambience of an idyllic rural haven and ruining trade for local shopkeepers.
Almost as vehement as Stuart's outburst were the anti-car rantings of local councillor Marc Asquith, who joined in the discussion on the Jeremy Vine Show to defend traffic wardens, saying that they were necessary to control inconsiderate motorists who overstayed their permitted parking time or flagrantly ignored no waiting signs and claimed that they actually made things better for traders by more regularly freeing up car spaces for other shoppers.
However, he conceded that Cheshire East Council has since decided to cancel the parking tickets because of the exceptional circumstances, pointing out that no-one had thought to inform them that such an important funeral was taking place that day.
So what are the rights and wrongs of this particular tale of the modern motoring age ?
I too was at Duncan's funeral and was amazed to see so many cars lining the streets approaching the church. Indeed, the Rev Carole Walker, who conducted the service, remarked that she had never seen St.Philip's so full. No-one in their right mind could have imagined that they were there for any other purpose than a funeral and that deep offence would not be caused if mourners were given a parking ticket or were made late for the service because they were hunting for a spot to park.
So why did the wardens persist in doleing out their £70 penalty notices - do they not have the discretion to use their own judgement in such circumstances or are they mere Jobsworths slavishly following regulations ? Or, as some would say, do they simply delight in persecuting drivers, especially if they happen to be driving a BMW, a Mercedes or a Porsche, which were much in evidence ? Those of us who have seen our local beauties lurking in a doorway at the side of the library observing the Fezzes and Lambos parked outside Gusto could be forgiven for thinking so.
Is it more about raising funds for the council ? According to the local press, in the final year before reorganisation, Macclesfield Borough Council collected a little short of £1m in parking fines. How much is our new super authority budgeting to rake in from motorists this year ? To what extent are they just another form of council tax ? I think we should be told.
And what about the effects of an aggressive anti-car campaign on the local economy ? Stuart Hall told the nation his local butcher is adamant that trade has suffered badly since the "Gestapo" hit town.
No doubt that publicity in itself will only serve to make things worse by encouraging shoppers to go to neighbouring towns like Northwich with its large and free central car park. It's high time councillors stopped regarding the car as a menace to be driven off the streets at all costs and instead found positive solutions to the problems they pose which also recognise the contribution they make to our lifestyles. (I'll leave the green arguments against to other correspondents).
Fortunately, if the worse fears about the design of the Alderley Edge by-pass are realised, perhaps we shall soon have ample extra parking space close to the village centre.