Road closure A51 Wardle

Businesses affected by the 16-week closure of a stretch of the busy A51 at Wardle near Nantwich want to know why the work wasn’t done during lockdown, writes Belinda Ryan.

As we revealed earlier this month, section of the main A51 route from Nantwich to Chester is to be closed between the junction of Bougheys Distribution and the Texaco Petrol Station from Tuesday August 31 for essential work to stabilise the road.

Cheshire East Council has said access to businesses within the closure will be facilitated where possible, with works being phased.

But business owners affected say they were given little more than two weeks’ notice by the council.

They are demanding to know why the work wasn’t carried out when the road was quiet during lockdown.

John Bailey, who owns JS Bailey, the cheese manufacturer at Nantwich Road, Calveley, said: “We’ve just had lockdown for so many months and this road was dead.

“We’re busier now and they want to stop it again.”

He said the café side of his business would be severely impacted by that section of the road being closed.

“This will completely devastate the café and the shop,” he said.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the staff.”

Mr Bailey said he first learned of the roadworks from a customer, although a Cheshire East officer did visit him afterwards.

Richard Thorley, of Bathrooms and Tiles by Pebbles, said he was told by the council that two weeks’ notice was all that was required.

cash machine raid - wardle service station - pic by google street maps
Wardle service station – pic by google street maps

Mr Thorley told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s going to affect us massively, especially after recovering from the last year and a bit.

“He [the council officer] did say we have got access one way for half of it and then the other way for the other half but, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s going to have a massive knock-on effect.

“Apparently we’re not entitled to any compensation because it’s repairs, not a new road.

“I’ve got no idea why it wasn’t done through lockdown and, there’s no housing near us, so why aren’t they being worked on through the night to make what is 16 weeks made less?”

He said the diversion route was lengthy.

“It’s going to be a difficult time ahead for the next four months,” said Mr Thorley.

“It would be bad anytime, but coming straight after the pandemic – and I’m sure they’ll [the council] still want their rate money.”

Both businesses agreed the roadworks were essential and both said they would remain open while the work was undertaken.

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “This is a substantial project requiring the stabilizing of the road, reconstruction of all layers of the highway, new drainage, kerbs, gullies, new safety barrier and resurfacing.

“An extensive and lasting engineering solution is required to address all the challenges we are faced with and this alone has taken some considerable time to develop.

“We have also had to consult with the Canal and River Trust, owing to the proximity of the scheme to the Shropshire Union canal.

“We are carrying out a full engagement plan to notify stakeholders about the scheme – including Arriva who operate bus services – ahead of the works starting on August 31.

“We have updated all local businesses directly affected and have held face-to-face meetings to discuss their concerns and support them where we can.

“We are sorry to hear that some businesses heard about the closure before our highways staff had the opportunity to contact them.

“However, we have communicated with local businesses regarding the planned works and did so in as timely a way as was possible.

“We thank residents and businesses in advance for their patience and understanding.”

Full details of the scheme, including diversion routes, can be found on the council website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/A51 and you can follow any developments via Twitter @CECHighways

2 Comments

  1. I completed an online form to CEC way back early August and STILL AWAITING any response from them on this road closure. The No.84 is now totally diverted, apart from 7.38am from Crewe-Chester (which I have seen for a couple days only going through its normal route) and there is no provision for residents for Barbridge, Wardle or Calverley to get into Nantwich, for those who rely on buses for work, shopping or school. Whilst the work is absolutely necessary, Arriva and Cheshire East have made no provision for people who rely on buses in these areas. There are elderly people who rely on public transport. Absolute disgrace the way businesses and people have been disregarded. Also, need to sort out Calverley Hall Lane as that is a ‘rat-run’ for cars, vans and in a lot of instances, vehicles over the weight limit for the bridge over the railway. Accident waiting to happen.

  2. Chris Moorhouse says:

    CEC received some extra millions in funding during lockdown for road repairs. This section of road has been in a poor condition for many years.
    Why can CEC not organise things or is it their contractor who decides?

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