gritting - Coole Lane accident in icy conditions

Dear Editor,
On 7th January 2022, since being cut from the winter gritting routes by CEC, yet another serious road incident caused by icy conditions occurred on Coole Lane, near Audlem.

My colleague, Cllr Rachel Bailey (Audlem) referred to the “carnage” now occurring on this lane which has highlighted the unacceptable costs to road users, blue light services and to Cheshire East Council being incurred by this poorly considered policy.

We’ve had few episodes of icy weather so far this winter, but this worrying scenario has been repeated across the borough wherever gritting routes have been axed.

I raised this as an urgent Notice of Motion at last December’s Full Council where it was referred to the Highways Committee.

It’s therefore shocking that this issue is not on the Highways Committee Agenda next week but has been pushed back to March, where even if action is taken, it will be too late to mitigate this year’s gritting debacle.

Cllr Craig Browne (CEC Deputy Leader) claims to take “the safety of all road users seriously” and that these decisions were made following consultation with local people and groups – yet the routes slashed bear no resemblance to the feedback provided by residents, schools and local councillors.

So too, the council has refused to publish the results of the consultation or how the final scores were determined.

I am not alone in my concerns.

Cllr Craig Browne’s refusal to review these decisions until April is not the behaviour of a caring council.

I sincerely hope, in the interests of road user safety, that we have a mild winter, (although the administration would probably use that phenomenon as an excuse to justify their decision!) However further winter weather is forecast.

The risks remain acute and we can only hope that CE residents are not required to pay the most ‘unthinkable’ costs of all.


Cllr Janet Clowes
Wybunbury Ward
Conservative Group Leader

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