Cheshire East Council has recently taken the decision to abolish Area Highways Groups, which cost £350,000 a year, and reallocate the funding so that each council member receives an individual budget of £4200 per year to spend on highways issues within their local ward.
Councillor Craig Browne has chosen to use his budget this year to fund these projects:
- A shared space scheme on South Street
- Level 2 patching on Eaton Drive, opposite Sutton RoadRepairs to the footpath on Stevens Street, adjacent to the Bubble Room
- A streetlight installed in the alleyway between Annis Road and Crescent Road
- Road markings at the junction of Macclesfield Road and London Road and outside Alderley Edge School for Girls
- A "No Entry" marking at the end of West Street
Councillor Craig Browne explained "For many years, minor highways schemes have been funded through Local Area Highways Groups (of which there were eight).
"Each year, the Council allocated funding of £350,000 (in total) to these; however because the funding was based on population, this meant that the Wilmslow Area Highways Group, which covered the Wards of Alderley Edge, Wilmslow East, Wilmslow West & Chorley, Wilmslow Dean Row, Wilmslow Lacey Green & Handforth, received just £21,000 each year. Inevitably, this was never enough to cover the schemes that the eight individual Ward Members brought forward for consideration.
"Following a debate at Full Council, we have decided to dispense with the Area Highways Groups (which were also very costly in terms of officer time and resource) and allocate the £350,000 across all 82 Cheshire East Ward Members; this means that each Councillor now has a guaranteed budget of £4,200 for this year, to spend on minor highways projects within their Ward. We have produced a list of services (effectively a shopping list) that Ward Councillors are able to buy into.
"For 2021/22 I have selected as my priorities: Level 2 patching repairs on Eaton Drive (opposite the junction with Sutton Road), Footpath repairs on Stevens Street (adjacent to the Bubble Room), Refreshing the road markings at the junction of Macclesfield Road/London Road, outside Alderley Edge School for Girls and a "No Entry" marking at the end of West Street, as well as a shared-space parking scheme on South Street and a lamp column on the alleyway between Annis Road & Crescent Road.
"In addition, Town & Parish Councils are being given the opportunity to buy additional highways services to compliment or match-fund their Ward Councillor's priorities. For example, Alderley Edge Parish Council will be funding some extra gully-emptying this year on Marlborough Avenue, Devonshire Drive & Beaufort Close and have already committed to match-fund the 130 bus service, in partnership with Nether Alderley Parish Council, Handforth Parish Council, Wilmslow Town Council & Macclesfield Town Council.
"Neighbouring Ward Councillors are also able to pool their Ward Budgets, where their priorities are aligned and there are particular issues that cross Ward Boundaries. The scheme is being run as a pilot for the 2021/22 financial year, but we hope it will prove to be successful and be extended as a result."