Cheshire East gritting fleet ready for winter

Dear Editor
Re: Coole Lane WILL be gritted after CEC reinstates it to winter programme- Belinda Ryan, 26th July 2022 (Nantwich News)

I write in response to the above article.

I read this article with a mixture of relief and despair; relief that at two dangerous routes have been reinstated to the Cheshire East Council’s gritting routes but despair that so many routes have been effectively ignored.

The arbitrary ‘splitting’ of rural routes into smaller sections has left rural parishes more vulnerable to adverse winter weather than ever before.

In my own Wybunbury Ward, the through-route from Shropshire and Audlem to the Potteries along Bridgemere Lane, Hunsterson Road and Checkley Lane, (although a continuous route), has been split into sections and left important businesses, Church, the primary school and all secondary school transport bus routes abandoned to the vagaries of the weather.

The ‘points system’ that might have reinstated the Checkley Lane section to the gritting network, has ruled against this, because the 200m at the end of this 3.5 mile stretch lies in Staffordshire and so ‘doesn’t count’!

Wybunbury Ward is not alone but it is the reason that I ‘called-in’ this inequitable system of evaluating routes in February 2020. The second consultation, that we completed in good faith, actually attracted LOWER scores than before which remains incomprehensible to me!

Cllr Craig Brown (Chair of the Highways Committee) said.
“I do accept that there will be some town and parishes that have not chosen to take advantage of this opportunity and that’s fine. They have the ability to precept but they choose not to”.

This statement is shocking – some parish councils have not ‘chosen not to’, indeed they are unable to precept to the level required to fund this essential service.

Cheshire East Council, at all levels has failed to acknowledge that for well-used through routes, in rural areas of low density populations, such a precept would financially cripple the small communities that the proposal seeks to serve.

The Highways Team have promised to continue to ‘monitor’ the situation, but that approach is on the premise that action will be retrospective – in other words after more accidents, damage, injuries or even (heaven forbid) deaths have occurred.

A truly caring and fair Council needs to adopt a pro-active, preventative and ‘fair’ approach. To do otherwise is contrary to this Council’s key principles and for some individuals next winter, this inequitable policy may be too late to rectify.

Yours

Cllr Janet Clowes
Wybunbury Ward
Conservative Group Leader
Cheshire East Council

One Comment

  1. Martin Bond says:

    Of course, getting the government to provide proper financial support to local authorities, rather than give taxpayer money to party donors, would make a considerable difference to the provision of local services.

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