Council proposing to stop gritting number of village roads

Cheshire East Council is proposing to reduce the number of roads that get gritted each winter, including several of the main routes in Alderley Edge.

The routes currently treated by the Council date back to the days of Cheshire County Council and at present, the Council treats around 1120km of the 2700km network (41%).

The Council has carried out a risk assessment process, which has identified 995km out of 2700km (37%) highway network as requiring routine winter treatment.

As a result, the proposal to be considered by the Cabinet on Tuesday, 4th February is for 103km of previously untreated roads to be added to the network. 892 km of previously treated roads remaining on the network and 230km of previously treated roads removed from the treated network.

Amongst the roads to be removed are Chorley Hall Lane, Mottram Road, Heyes Lane and Trafford Road in Alderley Edge.

Where roads are removed from the treated network, a grit bin risk assessment will be undertaken to ascertain if a grit bin is required.

Considering the risks of implementing these changes the report states "The removal of some roads from the winter treatment network could increase the risk of accidents on the network; however, the risk assessment process adopted should mean this is a manageable risk.

"The removal of some of the rural roads may make access to some rural businesses and communities difficult during snow and icing conditions; however, the proposed assessment of the removed roads for a grit bin could help to mitigate this."

The Council also has cross boundary agreements where roads in other council's areas are treated in return for the treatment of roads in Cheshire East to deliver route efficiencies. The Council presently treats 58km of other councils' roads with 19km of the CEC network treated in return. These cross boundary routes will be reviewed and dialog has begun with the neighbouring authorities to discuss changes.

Cheshire East is also proposing to amend the current frequency of safety inspections so that 843km of the most heavily trafficked roads in the Borough receive an increase in inspection frequency and 516km of lesser used routes receiving a lower inspection frequency. Under the proposals, the roads considered most important would receive inspections every month, whereas under the existing arrangements this is undertaken every two months.

Another proposal being considered is revising the response times for the repair of defects. The current code of practice, aims to address the most dangerous actionable defects within 1.5 hours and less dangerous actionable defects within 5 days. The proposal is to address emergency defects in 1 hour during the working day and 1.5 hours outside of working hours; however, defects that pose a lesser risk to the traveling public will be repaired between 2 and 20 working days from the point of identification by an inspector.

Additionally the Council is proposing to change the approach to road defects from intervention levels to investigatory levels. Under the current approach defects are actioned at the specific intervention level: 50mm for potholes, 100mm for carriageway edge deterioration, 25mm cycle-path or footpath defect and 50mm for cycle lane defects. Under the proposed approach defects are risk assessed at the investigatory level to determine the risk they pose to the public: 40mm for potholes, 80mm for carriageway edge deterioration, 20mm cycle-path or footpath defect and 20mm for cycle lane defects.

What do you think about the above proposals? Share your views via the comment box below.

Maps showing proposals

Green - road to remain on route.

Orange - road to be removed.

Blue - road to be added.

Cheshire East Council, Gritting


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Andy Brown
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 3:28 pm
Council tax goes up. Council services go down.

They probably think everyone in Alderley Edge drives Range Rovers but what about us poor saps whose wife has got the Range Rover and the husband is left to pootle around in his Ferrari?
Brian Hamilton
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 3:41 pm
Save 50p on grit. Spend £500 in A&E??
Roy Hall
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 4:14 pm
Mottram Road? No Way, its a major in & out of Alderley Edge? Come on Craig sort this out?
Erica Maslen
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 4:51 pm
That is ridiculous! with the amount of water that runs down the bottom end of Heyes Lane by the brook, it would be an accident waiting to happen...
Bill Pilkington
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 4:53 pm
Alderley Road, Mottram St Andrew to Alderley Edge must remain on the Council’s list of roads to be gritted.
This is an important route out of the village to local shops, doctors, chemists, public transport etc.
What do we pay our council tax for?
Bill Pilkington
Fiona Doorbar
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 5:09 pm
Heyes lane needs to be on the gritting list. This road is used by all the school coaches and is a key route in and out of the village. This is a crazy suggestion and must be prevented from being given the go ahead
Alan R Davies
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 5:47 pm
Hopefully it won't require more criticism by a Coroner before the Council revisits its risk assessment.
Graham Morgan
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 6:41 pm
This council continually plumbs new depths of stupidity, whilst us hard working taxpayers pay over the odds for diminishing services. I want my money back!
Jon Williams
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 7:47 pm
Come on Councillor Craig Browne, what have you got to say about this ?
Peter Bugler
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 7:52 pm
I'm not impressed. These roads are used by big vehicles (you know the ones) driven at too high a speed which take some stopping. 2 tons of metal at 35mph on ice. Ouch!
Anyone any idea how we would get up Trafford Road to Macc. Road? Coming down does bear thinking about.
As for that water run off from the fields just north of Heyes Lane bridge that sounds like a head on crash waiting to happen.
I wouldn't put my name to the risk assessment someone in EC wrote.
Ron Taylor
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 10:39 pm
The proposed Removal of Mottram Road shows a complete misunderstanding of how important this route is. The main link for Mottram St Andrew residents to get to the facilities in Alderley Edge, medical, retail, banking and recreational. This proposal must be opposed as this arterial route must be kept open and safe throughout the winter.
Graham Nicholson
Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 10:40 pm
As a resident on the upper part of Trafoord Rlad, which rises and bends sharply and caries much water draining from Macclesfield Road, I'd say that without gritting it will be very dangerous and scarcely passable in really cold weather.
Donald Strathdee
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 8:41 am
I agree completely. Stop all gritting, it is totally unnecessary, we drivers can manage perfectly well by using pot holes to stop us skidding!
Seriously though, Cheshire East Highways is unfit for purpose. They should be disbanded and the operation privatised.
When CE send out a man in a van to take a look to see if a hole is 40mm deep, then many days later, send two more men in vans to fill the 40mm hole but leave the two adjacent 30 mm holes! Then to return a couple of weeks later when 30mm deep becomes 40mm.
Any private business operating in such a fashion would soon go out of business.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 10:23 am
I agree with all the above comments, especially the one where saving £0.50p. in grit will cost £500 in A&E ….. in fact, it'll cost a damned sight more thank £500 in A&E, maybe many thousands and thousands of pounds for every accident, no matter how small.
Not gritting some of the roads ? Where do these idiots get these goofy ideas from ?
I just despair as to what type of people are making these stupid council decisions.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 10:50 am
Agree with all the above and Heyes Lane is like a skating rink with all the excess water plus with constant traffic and big school buses. Craig Browne please can you fight this utter nonsense move on our behalf
Craig Browne
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 12:58 pm
Dear all,

Thank you for your comments on this issue, many of which reflect my own thoughts. When the proposals were shown to council members back in the autumn, I submitted a number of objections setting out why our local roads should not be removed from the winter service programme; however, I do understand that Cheshire East Highways is in a no-win position.

The Dept for Transport requires that the local highways network is managed using a prescribed assessment; this assessment takes into account issues such as the category of road, volume of traffic, types of vehicle, history of accidents, connectivity with principal routes etc. The proposed changes are based on the results of this assessment.

Over the last 5 years, the Dept for Transport has awarded c.£12m each year to Cheshire East Council for the borough's highways network; however, the continuation of this funding is dependent on the council introducing the above assessment criteria to its management and maintenance of our local roads.

Unfortunately, the choice before us therefore is this: accept reductions in the winter service programme in order to retain the existing level of funding for road maintenance (temporary repairs, patching, resurfacing etc); or continue to grit all the roads that are currently covered, recognising that this will mean (even) less government funding for road repairs.

I would like to clarify that the proposal is to remove certain roads from the regular gritting programme, but this does not mean that they will not be gritted in the event of extreme weather conditions. I hope this helps everyone to understand why the proposal is being made. I don't like it any more than you do, but there is no easy alternative option.

Kind regards,
David Carey
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 1:24 pm
When you have a river of water running down Heyes Lane towards Whitehall Bridge it becomes a skating ring with the slightest frost overnight. I can guess there isn't a history of accidents here or on all the other roads which are have now been removed also. So lets wait for a history of accidents and people injured and then CEC can review it?
Jon Williams
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 7:59 pm
"The Dept for Transport requires that the local highways network is managed using a prescribed assessment; this assessment takes into account issues such as the category of road, volume of traffic, types of vehicle, history of accidents, connectivity with principal routes etc. The proposed changes are based on the results of this assessment."

Maybe the "prescribed assessment" is flawed then.

So C/E have had 60 m in the last five years, on top of the normal highways budget, it would make interesting reading has to how it was spent.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 29th January 2020 at 8:52 pm
I notice that for Wilmslow and Alderley Edge (Wilmslow a much bigger area are losing 2 roads from gritting schedules and our village is losing many more). It looks like Ansa just picked those roads and decided this in the same arbitrary haphazard way they picked the same roads for 2nd class Waste collection (when they changed our dates and did no collections for 3 weeks whilst the rest of the village had weekly unchanged collections) I am sorry but this decision stinks and I suspect the traffic assessment was done outside of rush hour when Heyes Lane very busy.
John Blake
Friday 31st January 2020 at 9:21 am
Councillor Browne
I would like to make a number of observations on your statement.
1. You say you objected to your own policy change isn't this slightly hypocritical as you have responsibility for strategic transport therefore it was your decision to start this folly.
2. You say the Dept for Transport has given £12million for the maintenance of the roads yet the current state of roads would indicate that this has been mismanaged
3. Reading the report it makes no mention that roads which you are taking off will be gritted in extreme weather but does say that we might get a grit bin if we pass the test for eligibility (dont hold your breath)
4. I am sure the government will not take money away from the council for putting residents lives at risk.

If you have any level of decency you will vote against this ludicrous policy.
Alan Brough
Friday 31st January 2020 at 9:43 am
A further erosion of local services - Council tax increases unerringly whilst services are systematically cut.

Craig, the idea that we have to make sacrifices from the "Winter Service Programme" in order to sustain funds for road repair is actually insulting. You will be well aware that the roads around Wilmslow and Alderley Edge are currently in a dangerous state of repair with widespread broken surfaces and potholes (craters) commonplace. In addition the painted central lines and "Slow" & "Stop" markings in many places are illegible - the stretch of London Road from its junction with Heyes Lane, through the village, continuing into Congleton Road to the junction with Artists Lane / Welsh Row (and beyond) is a good example.

So now CE Council want to tinker some more and add lack of traction to broken roads?

Am I alone in having doubts about the promises of investment in "The Northern Powerhouse" or "The Engine of the North" or "Connectivity" when all around us infrastructure is crumbling?
Kriss Coombes
Friday 31st January 2020 at 11:29 am
I agree that the C.E.C. highway dept. is a disgrace. However, as mentioned in Craig's response, if the continuation of this funding for C.E.Council highways is dependant on them applying the prescribed assessment, as set by the Dept. of Transport, then should we not be asking our M.P, Esther McVey for her comments ?
Karen Robinson
Friday 31st January 2020 at 5:34 pm
I’m really not surprised at all. CEC haven’t a clue on the problems we have around Alderley.
The number of times I’ve reported about road markings that just are not there any more and this is going back over 5 years ago and still nothing done. How much money is being spent on these kitchen caddy bins for waste food??? Not heard 1 person yet say they want one! Put that money into something that’s really needed!!
Craig Browne
Sunday 2nd February 2020 at 12:19 am
John Blake,

Thank you for your observations. Taking them point by point, firstly the proposed changes fall under the responsibility of the Highways & Waste portfolio, rather than Strategic Transport & Infrastructure; however, that is largely irrelevant as the changes are being forced upon us anyway.

I think we all recognise that the condition of our local roads both could and should be better; however, an assessment by the Strategic Highways Team has concluded that £17m needs to be invested annually, simply to retain the existing condition of our roads; anything less is just managing their continual decline. The funding level provided to Cheshire East by the Dept for Transport has been £5m short of this for each of the last five years.

The Well Managed Highways Protocol (referenced in the report) makes it clear that future DfT funding allocations will continue to be linked to councils’ ability to demonstrate that they have complied with the assessment criteria set out in that protocol. The risk associated with failing to do so is therefore that Cheshire East would receive an even lower level of funding than the (inadequate) £12m it currently gets.

Many residents are also unaware that approximately two-thirds of Cheshire East’s budget is spent on supporting vulnerable adults and looked-after children. These are statutory services for which the demand is growing, yet financial support from central government has not kept pace. The other one-third has to cover everything else the council is responsible for, so I can assure you that this is not a case of mismanagement; rather one of increasingly being asked and expected to do more with less.

As a final point, it is perhaps also worth making the point that for every £1.00 Cheshire East raises in business rates, only 30p remains within the borough, with the remaining 70p going directly to Westminster for redistribution to other areas (for example, Liverpool gets to keep £1.30 for every £1.00 collected).

I hope this is helpful and I would like to assure you that I both understand and share your annoyance, but on this particular occasion I feel it is misdirected.

Kind regards,
David Hadfield
Sunday 2nd February 2020 at 8:23 am
Well Done Craig, for your valued and honest comments.
If ANYONE can alter the direction of some of the less-than-helpful Cheshire East Councillors, YOU can. Thank you.
Roy West
Monday 3rd February 2020 at 10:20 am
Thank you Craig for giving us the background information on Council funding. It would be nice to have our MP's comments on behalf of the Government regarding this shortfall!
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 6:14 pm
This issue was discussed at Cabinet today.

A recording of the debate can be listened to at:
Marc Asquith
Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 6:29 pm
I note that Craig and his group voted alongside the Labour group unanimously to remove these gritting routes from the village.
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 7:11 pm
I note that the former Conservative Leader of CEC Councilor Bailey acknowledged that this was a legacy item from when the conservatives were in charge of Cheshire East Council.
Duncan Herald
Thursday 6th February 2020 at 9:15 am
Does 'legacy item' mean that you have to do it? Or can the 'newbies' change what will happen?
Alan Brough
Thursday 6th February 2020 at 2:57 pm
Significantly we are missing (or being misled from) the point.

The nett spend on CE roads is being vigorously cut and the condition of the roads is deteriorating quickly - we are faced with driving on increasingly dangerous roads.

Whilst CE Council tell us that this is due to budget cuts inflicted by Central Government, the stated policy of the new Government is to increase investment in Northern infrastructure.

Letters to Esther McVey will (I'm quite sure) solicit the reassurance we all desire.
John Blake
Saturday 8th February 2020 at 2:06 pm
It's such a shame our local Councillor sees fit to not only table this policy change but to vote for it as well as the full cabinet. Feel totally let down by this administration.
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 10th February 2020 at 10:44 am
I think it is very upsetting that Alderley Edge seem to have a disproportionately larger number removed from the schedule. Further whenever the bypass is closed Heyes Lane has triple the amount of traffic running on it. I urge the council to think again on this shortsighted decision. Gritting bins will be no good as on dome parts of the road pavement is too narrow