Barlow's Beef: Chaos on Cheshire roads


We know that our roads are increasingly congested. We also know the cost to companies when staff are stuck in traffic. Pricing jobs is a nightmare for transport companies when they simply don't know how long any journey will take.

A lengthy road closure can wreck the business of cafes and restaurants reliant on passing trade and cause untold inconvenience for local residents. The added risk of road works to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians is clear for all to see.

Carrying out work on or beneath our roads efficiently and quickly is paramount to commerce, commuters and residents. It's a responsibility any developed economy takes seriously. Sadly (for us) Cheshire East accept no such responsibility.

I took the above picture at 4-30 pm on Thursday April 21, which was a beautiful clear cloudless day. This is Buxton Old Road in Macclesfield closed 29 days for repair works of an unspecified nature. Sunset was 8-20 pm giving a further four hours of daylight to push ahead with the work at hand.

There wasn't a single person at work. The entire project was completely abandoned. The welfare of pedestrians, residents and local commerce was of no consequence. No sense of urgency whatsoever.

Who is supposed to be monitoring this major upheaval? While CEC are busy losing reams of our money launching ill-conceived business ventures the basics of running a council are openly neglected.

Look, I do not want to be unfair to our beloved council so here's what we will do. This summer check every road works and road closure in your area in daylight hours. Take a photo and send it to me with the time and level of activity.

Let's see precisely how CEC manage our streets and roads. Maybe the results will surprise us. Perhaps the above is a one-off rather than ongoing neglect.

Either way I promise to publish the findings. Given the enormous consequences to businesses and residents these works need to be monitored and managed. We pay Cheshire East to do just that.

Standing on the sidelines with a litany of excuses isn't good enough. We already know how easily CEC cave in to developers and big business. If they cannot manage our roads there is very little left for them to supervise.

What's going to happen when all the new houses are built and the predicted population explosion kicks in? The cost of allowing utility companies to dig up roads and manage themselves is not borne by them but by local businesses and taxpayers.

Okay, enough said. Let's do our bit. You take the pictures, send them to me and I'll publish the results. If my comments are unfair we shall soon find out.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, VIC , Vic Barlow


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

Jo Jones
Wednesday 27th April 2016 at 9:25 am
What a ridiculous article, the last thing I would want is someone digging holes making a racket outside my house at 7.30 at night, I have a 2 year old baby to get to sleep. Wonder how many hours work you put in Mr Barlow expecting the rest of the country to work 12-14 hour shifts.
DELETED ACCOUNT False Name (Louise Gray)
Saturday 30th April 2016 at 12:30 pm
Actually it is not a ridiculous article, it is very pertinent. Cheshire East Highways have in the last few years taken the blanket decision for many full road closures in our area whereas before they may have relied on temporary traffic lights. These cost more money to operate thus a total and often uneccessary road closure is put in place. Cheshire East can then walk away with lower costs and not give a fig for those of us who need to use the local roads on a regular basis. I work for a Care company and have to drive a long distance weekly around Cheshire East. The other day in Prestbury I was held up for 20minutes by a company who closed one through route.Traffic queued andwe all had to execute the same 3 point turn further up said lane at the same spot (which was wide enough) and this caused the 20 minute delay. I had driven through this same road 40 minutes previously and there had been no advance notice . I plan my journeys and always check the highway planned works schedule. That day's chaos was not caused by emergency works (in case someone chimes in) I checked. It had been planned by BT but they had agreed a traffic light with highways however the contractor for BT had no time or inclination to provide lights so he made the arbitrary decision to close the road TO FIT A NEW DRAIN COVER. Apparently this subcontractor will be fined. How did I find this out? I tenaciously rang all parties concerned, established the true facts and made a high level complaint to Highways. I lost money that day because I was late for a specific job as I am paid for the time spent in each job. I was fuming because this is my salary and it is a loss for me, the Exchequer, my family etc so I can only make it up through overtime. So Jo whilst I appreciate the concerns re your baby (I have one too) and if there is road working during the day that too would wake your child, Mr Barlow has raised a very good point. Some civil Engineers and road contractors actually appreciate overtime work and pay too (my brother in law is one) but overtime is not offered as much as it used to be in order to save money.