s - Janet Clowes, Conservative group leader cheshire east council 2019

Cheshire East Conservatives are proposing an amendment to the budget urging the council to develop a lane rental scheme to charge utility companies which dig up roads, writes Belinda Ryan.

The suggestion was first put forward by group leader Janet Clowes (Wybunbury) at a meeting of the corporate policy committee.

It involves charging utility companies ‘rent’ for each day they dig up roads in the borough to carry out repairs.

It would not apply to all roads, as charges are focused on the very busiest streets at the busiest times, but it applies to works promoted by both utility companies and highway authorities on the road network.

As well as generating much-needed cash for the council, the aim is to speed up the time it takes companies to complete works and minimise disruption for road users.

Labour and Independent members indicated this could be something they would support, so the amendment is likely to be successful when brought forward at Wednesday’s meeting of the full council.

Cllr Clowes told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Cheshire East Council receives a high level of complaints related to highways maintenance, repair and carriageway deterioration.

“Therefore, at a time of financial constraint, the council must take advantage of every opportunity to access resources that will address these issues.

“It is estimated that it will take approximately one year to complete appropriate consultation exercises, route evaluations, cost benefit analysis and gain approval from the Secretary of State.

“It will also be necessary to recruit a designated officer to develop and implement the scheme.

“However, it is important to note that the legislation allows highway authorities to cover the scheme operating costs from the revenue raised by charges. Consequently, there will be no operational cost deficit to this scheme.”

The scheme already operates in Sussex where, Cllr Clowes says, the going rate is about £2,500 a day.

The amendment calls on Cheshire East to develop a lane rental scheme and to prioritise its implementation, following approval by the Secretary of State.

It proposes that the highways team are then asked to identify associated costs and benefits of a scheme for the council, with the intent to introduce potential benefits in the mid-term financial strategy (budget) from April 1 2024.

The council will be making a decision on the budget, which will also include the new council tax rate, at the meeting on Wednesday (February, 22).

The meeting takes place at Macclesfield Town Hall at 11am.


  1. Chris Moorhouse says:

    In our small close, approx. 150 metres in length we have over 40 potholes. Perhaps CEC should pay the residents £1 per day per pot hole.
    They don’t seem to understand that the £2500 will have an administration cost to collect it, make sure its paid, chase up non-payers etc so the bottom line will be no where near this figure. As Barney said the cost will come back to us but it will be with a high “on cost” for administration.

  2. The bad news is that no matter the cost, its the poor consumer who will be paying it in the end, so the Council will get a bit more cash now, but funded eventually by you, passed on from your electricity and gas bill standing charge. Don’t think for a minute the energy companies will just hand it over from the vast profits, again paid by you.

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