A51 spine road bypass reaseheath

It looked like being the road to no where.

It was supposed to open 12 months ago but progress on the new A51 “spine road” around Reaseheath in Nantwich appeared to be at a standstill.

Now a number of new documents have been lodged with Cheshire East Council planners which could finally see some hope for those desperate for it to open.

Latest documents lodged include plans for a Toucan crossing, some road lighting, footpath links, and general road layout arrangements.

Cheshire East Council Highways have also responded to fears the road is too narrow, declaring “the proposed carriageway width is acceptable”.

Reaseheath road campaigner Vicky Higham, who is also standing for Nantwich North in the May borough and town council elections, says she is in touch with CEC to push for a finalised date of completion and opening.

But like many residents, she voiced her frustrations at the delays, confusion and lack of communication.

Ms Higham, also a parish councillor for Worleston, said: “Whilst I am delighted we now have some information from the planning portal, it’s disappointing the only reason I established this information is because I check this weekly for updates and we haven’t been provided the information from the people and bodies I have been regularly asking.

“For too long residents feel that they have been kept in the dark by elected officials and officers.

“No one has been active on social media to listen to residents concerns and act upon it.

“We need to demonstrate this is something that is important to many Nantwich residents, both those on Kingsbourne to access routes to Chester and the A500 and also to avoid congestion on the highway network through Nantwich town and remove many of the rat runs in residential areas.

“We now need to understand what exactly needs to be done, in what order and the associated time frames.”

Ms Higham is writing to Cheshire East Highways requesting a timeline and details on Section 106 conditions such as sound bunds and cycle and footpaths.

“I would ask fellow Nantwich residents to sign this letter and as part of our usual monthly surgery,” she added.

The letter will be available to sign at 13 Churchyardside on Saturday April 1 between 9.30am and 11am.

“This feels that after years of working on this we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s been hard work and not always been given the focus by those who should do so through their elected position,” she said.

The original planning for the road was lodged way back in July 2021, with a notice (pictured) saying the road should be open by February 2022.

Reaseheath A51 works sheet
Original Reaseheath A51 works sheet

The spine road was one of the Section 106 planning conditions as part of Cheshire East Council approving the Kingsbourne development.

However, it’s thought those conditions included having the road built and open by the time the 750th house on the development was occupied.

Work began regardless and the road was largely built – only for others to raise the issue over a lack of a crossing as it had been built across an existing “right of way”.

When this emerged, it threw the project into further delays and confusion.

Worleston Parish Council was told last year the road should be open by October 2022.

October came and went, followed by November, December, January and February. No workmen have been seen on the site for almost six months.

Cllr Sarah Pochin, CEC ward councillor covering Reaseheath, said she was involved in raising the issue over the crossing.

“I worked hard on behalf of the community to get a pedestrian crossing included on the roundabout.

“It was absolutely the right thing to do on safety grounds but as a consequence this has had to go back to CE planning permission and this caused delay.

“I understand the developers also spent some time arguing about who was paying for it.

“Alongside this as I keep telling residents the s106 says road has to be open by the 750th house occupation. Last time I made enquiries that hadn’t been reached.”

In a CEC statement last month, the council said “the developer has not progressed this as quickly as we would have liked but the scheme is moving forward”.

Reaseheath bypass entrance-exit adjacent to Reaseheath roundabout - March 2023 (1)
Reaseheath bypass entrance-exit adjacent to Reaseheath roundabout

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “This is a developer-led scheme and Cheshire East Highways are now satisfied with the latest proposals put forward.

“We continue to be in discussions with the developer concerning the public right of way, local ecology measures and landscaping.

“While we are satisfied in principle, the developer has not progressed this as quickly as we would have liked but the scheme is moving forward.

“We cannot give a completion date, as yet, although we expect the outstanding matters to be resolved soon.”

The consortium behind the Kingsbourne development, led by house builders Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and David Wilson Homes, say the road is still “subject to ongoing planning application”.

In their statement, they say: “The majority of the new road, which will create a second access to the Kingsbourne development, has now been constructed, with the exception of the new connection points.

“The works are subject to an ongoing planning application and other highway agreements and we are working closely with Cheshire East Council to reach a solution as soon as possible.”

Even Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson weighed in after being approached by annoyed residents on Kingsbourne asking when the “ghost” road will be alive.

The MP replied: “I have asked the Chief Executive Officer at Cheshire East Council to investigate this matter, work to find a resolution and provide a comprehensive response.

“I do not have any involvement in the authority’s road adoption processes, however I will continue to make representations and will monitor the situation closely.”

So the road remains fenced off. Gathering dust and weeds.

It is now subject to more planning applications – and no doubt weeks if not months of discussions and meetings.

For residents – and motorists – we are still on the never-ending roundabout. But there is, possibly, light at the end of the tunnel.

*Ms Higham runs a Facebook page @nantwichmatters or you can email her on [email protected]

roundabout and bypass

(Images courtesy of Jonathan White)


  1. The new road seems a similar width to the current A51 I feel. So I have no concerns regarding that. Also John, the road hasn’t been under co structure for ten years! The estate was only started in 2018 I think. My concerns are that the road leading into Kingsbourne from the rerouted A51 should have road humps all the way along from the smaller A51 roundabout into Kingsbourne to the traffic lights by the Football ground at Waterlode where Reasheath Way reaches. Traffic along Reaseheath way isn’t exactly slow currently and the road humps in situ at the moments don’t slow anyone down. It will become a traffic nightmare through Kingsbourne estate if the road isn’t slowed up. It’s a residential street so at most should be a 30 zone but I fear traffic build ups along that stretch will be heavy if traffic isn’t deterred.

  2. Chris Moorhouse says:

    Go to the top – the Chief Executive.
    Ask her to personally investigate and respond to you.
    Don’ accept anyone else.

  3. gosh only taken ten years of this site to still not be finished, so we all have to put up with decade after decade of building work do we, and gridlocked roads too, about time the council started to do their job,
    It may well turn out this road will take years to open, then what??
    Years ago roads were built before housing started, such a mess I would hate to live there

  4. To reinforce the comments regarding our concerns regarding developer and council performance in respect of this road provide a further example as follows .
    The earth bund between the new housing and the new bypass road needs to be constructed to an engineered standard capable of supporting the acoustic fencing that will be installed on it before the road is opened . The earth bund appears to be a simple heap of loose soil which would be inadequate. A poorly constructed bund will not provided suitable foundations for the essential acoustic fencing that will be installed at the top of the bund to protect residents from traffic noise.
    I have raised this with David Wilson Homes on a number of occasions but to no avail.
    Could someone please give me the contact details for the persons responsible at the Council to ensure the matter is dealt with to meet the necessary construction specifications.
    It would be a travesty if the problems currently suffered by our neighbours at Reaseheath were simply transferred to the unsuspecting residents of Kingsbourne .

  5. Sadly not a surprise Cheshire East and planning should never be used in a sentence. Traffic into and out of Nantwich along A51 will be a nightmare. Better to travel West to Chester for all provisions unfortunately another nail in the coffin for Nantwich high street

  6. Pete Stockdale says:

    A clear instance of the pass the parcel game – only in this version they have lost the parcel !!

  7. Totally agree Mark,and when it does open the amount of traffic that this narrow road will have to deal with will I am afraid to say will result in even more accidents and tail backs as well as significant noise levels to all those who’s new houses are being built close to this shambles.

    No planning, no future proofing and total incompetence from the planning department as usual .

  8. This whole project has been a disgrace – the greed of the developers and landowners, the incompetence (or worse) of Cheshire East planning allowing it to happen. Why wasn’t it a stipulation – which it absolutely could have been – that this and the link road to the football club opened first saving thousands of journeys through the town? Money and incompetence, that’s why.

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