Councillor confirms where local highways fund will be spent

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."



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

Jon Williams
Monday 28th June 2021 at 8:42 am
I take it the "Lengthsman" will be clearing the weeds from the footpath between Annis Road and Crescent Road first.
Raymond Walker
Tuesday 29th June 2021 at 1:16 pm
Presumably the full budget is being divided amongst the councillors, yet this must not be allowed to impact on the rectification of errors previously made. The LED traffic light scheme was a waste of money as they have not provided the hours of life the manufacturer boasted about. The lengthy work of swapping back the LED traffic lights to filament lights seems to have deemed the replacement of housing and fittings, judging by the enormous amount of time it took to change the Stanneylands Rd/Manchester Road junction. This is poor management policy for the LEDs should only have been bought if they could sit in the existing housings. One only hopes that the manufacture was UK and not China based.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 29th June 2021 at 6:11 pm
I can't believe that LED traffic lights are proving unreliable. It's a well understood technology and most of us have LEDs in our homes where they are many times more reliable and much cheaper to run than the old incandescent lamps. All modern cars have LED lighting for the same reasons. We have LED street lights in our area and have had for a while, where there does not appear to be a problem; they just 'work'. Surely traffic light technology is well understood, and 'off the shelf' traffic light systems must be readily available which have been well proven throughout the world.

LED colour light signals on railways are commonplace and have been for very many years, including on our local railway here in Wilmslow and Alderley. They give clearer indications to drivers than the old incandescent bulb colour lamp signals, use far less current so lighter feed cables can be used, and the savings in replacing lamps, since they have such long mean-time-between-failures, are considerable.

Can anyone confirm that for some reason the LED traffic lights purchased by our local authority buck this universal trend and we are reverting to the long-overtaken technology of filament bulbs with all it's attendant disadvantages? Frankly, I don't believe it.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 7:56 pm
Vince Chadwick

As a chartered electrical engineer, I too can not believe that LED traffic lights are proving unreliable. So I went to google and typed in “Are LED traffic lights proving unreliable’.

I found several articles exalting the benefits of them over traditional ones that use incandescent lamps. The only negative that I found was that in extreme cold conditions LED lights can become affected by snow and ice sticking to the lens cover due to the lack of heat that stops this happening when an incandescent lamp is used. But the “boffins” have now found a solution by including a heating wire in the lens cover much like the system used in “rear demists” in cars. Temperature sensors are used to switch it on and off.

This article was of particular interest.

I wait to see if Raymond Walker, provides more information.
Raymond Walker
Tuesday 6th July 2021 at 4:15 pm
Further to what Vince Chadwick and Stuart Regard say above, they are looking at the matter in a superficial way. Yes, the technology is well-understood, but the boast of 15,000 or 25,000 hrs is not being met. The problem of the failure seems to be the lack of reliability of the driver circuit rather than just the reliability of the LED elements.

When two of my domestic LED lamps failed after around 3,000 hrs and 4.5 yrs age I asked for replacements. I was told they were out of their 3 yr warranty. Our importers from China now hide behind not a lamp life but behind a so-called lamp age warranty. Age has never been part of a lamp guarantee before now. Up to around 2005, domestic (GLS) lamps were designed to last 1,000 hrs, Class A1 (projector lamps) would last 50 hrs, Class T (theatre lamps) would 200 hrs. If failure were proved to occur without wrong voltage or mechanical shock, they would be replaced. (Domestic LEDs of 15,000 hrs used for 6 hrs every day should last nearly 7 yrs.)

When I reminded Osram of this fact two replacements were sent out. Always keep your LED lamp receipts and keep an eye open about their use.

When Cheshire East were updating their traffic lights I noticed that London Westminster were still using filament lamps and I reckon still are. By all means use modern technology but stop exporting precious-earned Sterling to manufacturers whose names and addresses do not appear on packaging and whose lamps do not relate to any British Standard specification. Council engineers are well-educated engineers and should scrutinise the consequences before jumping into a fashionable trend at great expense.
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 7th July 2021 at 8:53 am
Raymond Walker, I found your post most entertaining and I did consider whether you were being serious, and therefore whether it warranted a response. But OK, I'll bite.

I'd be interested to know how you justify your assertion that mine and Stuart Redgard's posts were 'superficial'. It is generally accepted that LED systems (including their associated drive components - they are after all part of 'the system') are far more reliable, cheaper to run, and cheaper to maintain than the filament lamp systems that they have replaced. That is why they are in universal use worldwide and have largely supplanted the old filament lamps in just about every lighting application from hand held torches to lighthouses, cars to railway signalling, street lights, traffic lights (fixed and temporary) and domestic applications where their use is now the norm.

I'm not quite sure how the manufacturer of your domestic LED lamps, Raymond, was supposed to know how many hours you ran them for before they failed. A 3 year guarantee on a domestic lamp seems reasonable to me, so at 4.5 years of course they were out of warranty. Crikey, these things cost peanuts on eBay so the odd failure after 4.5 years really should be of no consequence.

Your comment about the London Borough of Westminster is interesting. They were forward thinking enough to install the world's first traffic light in 1868. It would surprise me if they were still using 19th century lighting technology in 2021!

Your statement "....stop exporting precious-earned Sterling to manufacturers whose names and addresses do not appear on packaging and whose lamps do not relate to any British Standard specification. Council engineers are well-educated engineers and should scrutinise the consequences before jumping into a fashionable trend at great expense" is I presume aimed at Cheshire East technical staff. Their comments would be of interest, assuming they consider a response to be appropriate.

By the way, you might be interested to learn that perfectly good and respected standards other than 'British' ones are today in common use in all areas of engineering and technology.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 7th July 2021 at 3:10 pm
Raymond Walker: I will accept that my comment could be classed as looking at the matter in a superficial way. That’s because one of the definitions of superficial is:’appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely.”

That’s why I said: “I wait to see if Raymond Walker, provides more information.”

You say: ‘the boast of 15,000 or 25,000 hrs is not being met. The problem of the failure seems to be the lack of reliability of the driver circuit rather than just the reliability of the LED elements.”

But you then go on to talk about domestic LED lamps.

To help me comment in more detail, could you please provide a specific example relating to LED units for traffic lights.

On my very first job as a graduate engineer back in 1988, I came across a problem with GLS life lamp which we struggled to understand. It was for a Royal Naval Communications establishment in Whitehall, London. We specified the very latest tri-phosphor fluorescent T8 (or T28 in metric) lamps with electronic ballasts everywhere except the recreation areas where we used GLS lamps on rotary dimmers.

I the first year after completion we got complaints from the user that the GLS lamps were not lasting very long. We found out that first of all they were not being switched off when not in use, we then found out that some of the rotary dimmers were not the correct rating. We investigated if over-voltage was an issue. In the end, we asked where they were getting the lamps sourced from. We found that they were being bulk purchased from the cheapest source.

The lamps were marked as being too BS.

In the end, we could not determine exactly why the lamps were not lasting as long as expected. We could only say that we assumed it was either a bad batch or that they were of inferior quality.

Remember that even if the equipment is manufactured and tested to the same BS it will not necessarily be of the same quality.

Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 7th July 2021 at 5:36 pm
That reminds me of the rush for TQM (Total Quality Management) standards in IT project management in the 1980s. It ensured that everything was documented, traceable and followed established processes.

It did not, of course, measure in any way how 'good' the final IT solution was when it was implemented. TQM was largely subsumed by ISO9000 / 9001 which was really more of the same. It certainly had its place, but it did not necessarily lead to a more effective mouse trap.
Stuart Redgard
Thursday 8th July 2021 at 6:51 am
Vince Chadwick.

I remember hearing about TQM when I was a Quality Manager for a large consulting engineering firm back in the early 00's. Also came across six sigma. We were accredited to ISO9001.

Unfortunately, my experience was that too many people just thought of it as a tick-box exercise. We very nearly lost our accreditation due to one regional office having a very bad external audit.

I concur It certainly had its place, but it did not necessarily lead to a more effective mouse trap'
Vince Chadwick
Thursday 8th July 2021 at 8:18 am
I remember the ISO - OSI model; the International Standards Organisation - Open Systems Interconnect 7-layer model for data interchange over a network. It was designed to provide an interoperability standard regardless of the underlying platform, but it was complex and clunky as it was dreamed up in isolation rather than driven by a real-world application.

ISO - OSI was overtaken by the slick and effective TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol over Internet Protocol) which came out of the US Department of Defence's need to develop a protocol to meet their strategic needs. TCP/IP became the universal de facto standard communication protocol while OSI - ISO withered on the vine. TCP/IP is of course at the heart of today's Internet. The pragmatic approach won out.

But we seem to have strayed far from the subject of potholes in the road!
Claire MacLeod
Tuesday 13th July 2021 at 3:48 pm
Can I just say, I loved reading this thread. Didn't understand 60% of it (as I don't speak engineer), but found it highly entertaining and quite informative. Although I'm not sure when I'll next need to call on my newly acquired knowledge of LED vs filament (British or from overseas) traffic light systems.

As you were, gentlemen.
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 13th July 2021 at 5:17 pm
My pleasure Claire. There are generally three reasons why I contribute to threads. They are

1) To gain clarity on previous comments.
2) Feedback on my knowledge in the subject area.
3) Express a personal opinion in the subject area.
Claire MacLeod
Tuesday 13th July 2021 at 7:29 pm

Mission accomplished!