crash skip lorry coole lane

Council chiefs who withdrew a rural lane from its winter gritting route, today admitted they had to grit part of it after pressure from Cheshire Police.

Highways were called out by officers who attended the latest in a series of accidents on Coole Lane, between Nantwich and Audlem.

It happened on Friday morning after overnight freezing temperatures.

A car skidded off the road and crashed into a telegraph pole at the Baddington end of the lane.

Local councillors fighting to re-instate Coole Lane onto the winter gritting routes said a gritting lorry was seen on the lane later that day.

Today, a Cheshire East Council spokesperson admitted: “We attended Coole Lane following a road traffic collision and gritted the immediate area at the specific request of the police.”

Despite this and other accidents in December, the authority maintains that Coole Lane “does not meet the threshold for inclusion on winter gritting routes”.

The CEC spokesperson added: “We take the safety of all our road users seriously and we urge drivers to take extra care, particularly during wintery conditions, whether driving on treated or untreated roads.

“The road was assessed as part of the well-managed highway infrastructure code of practice and does not meet the threshold for inclusion on winter gritting routes.

“The revised gritting routes prioritise the most critical parts of the road network.

“Coole Lane was not included in the revised schedule.”

Coole Lane resident David Harrison said: “Common sense has finally prevailed. Sadly, CEC acted only after an intervention from the police.

“Yet it took several accidents resulting in two badly-damaged bridges and a bent telegraph pole before gritting was resumed.

“Let us hope that the whole of Coole Lane has now been permanently reinstated as a designated gritting route.

“During freezing weather the road surface is treacherous and yet CEC simply refused to listen to residents’ concerns about safety.

“Their criteria to decide which routes should not be gritted is seriously flawed – and the accidents and resulting damage surely prove this. CEC have wasted money rather than saved it through cuts.

“All the emergency services have been called in to action as a result of this incredibly silly policy.

“Thankfully, Cheshire Police have stepped in before somebody was seriously injured or killed.

“Let us hope the welcome sight of a council gritter again becomes a familiar feature in freezing weather.”

Cllr Rachel Bailey, on a residents forum in December, described the decision to remove Coole Lane as based on “a flawed formula”.

Today, Cllr Bailey said: “I suspected it was reported ‘as dangerous’ by the police and CE either had to close the lane, again, or intervene. I will be asking next what was the revenue cost of this ‘individual grit’.

“The lane is split between four parishes (Newhall, Sound, Austerson, Baddington), CE assessed each section of the Lane separately rather than the whole which always meant it wouldn’t meet the required ‘well managed highway score’.

“I wish CE Leaders would stop hiding from, what is genuine concern that someone is going to be seriously hurt on Coole Lane if it isn’t reinstated as a winter gritting route.”

We have contacted Cheshire Police for their comments.

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