Bypass pumping station is 'damaged beyond repair'

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As many local residents will have noticed a section of the A34 bypass, between Prestbury Road and Alderley Road, remains closed due to flooding.

Pendleton Way has been shut since Storm Barra brought severe winds and heavy rain on Wednesday 8th December.

Yesterday Councillor Craig Browne inforned us "As a result of the sheer volume of rainwater we have experienced locally following the two recent storms, the pumping station that services the northbound carriageway has failed and is damaged beyond repair (the pumping station is serviced regularly under contract with a third party).

"CE Highways are currently considering how to resolve this issue utilising temporary pumps, although an effective long term solution is likely to be complex. It is anticipated that Pendleton Way will reopen tomorrow (Tuesday); however, this is dependent upon no further significant rainfall overnight."

Sally Hirst, who could not understand why such an important road has only two workers getting it open, sent us the above photos taken whilst walking her dog at 10.50am this morning (Tuesday, 14th December).

She said "The bypass had less water lying on it than Alderley Road. 2 men were working on the bypass, one man in a tractor and one man looking over the bridge at water being pumped by the tractor. Dirt was on the road and central reservation.

"Why was the road not being cleaned for opening? Is the tractor also pumping the new lake on the business site that is being constructed?

"At that time an ambulance had to travel into Wilmslow past heavy standing traffic.

"Why not a ditch/pipe to Whitehall Brook, why a pump? Why do we rely on pumps so heavily when roads were constructed with gravity drainage during the industrial revolution?"

Updated 15th December 2021: A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: "The Pendleton Way section of the A34, between Prestbury Road and Alderley Road, has been closed in both directions after the high volume of water from two recent storms and a fallen tree caused serious, irreparable damage to the pumping station at Whitehall Brook.

"Cheshire East Council's highways teams were on site throughout the weekend emptying the gullies and sweeping the large amount of mud and debris deposited by the flood water. Workers have been on site at the pumping station to assess the damage and install temporary pumps, which will enable the water to be cleared and the road to reopen, hopefully, later today.

"A long-term solution is likely to be complex due to the extent of the damage to the pumping station. We thank people for their patience in this matter."

A34 Bypass


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

Debbie Scott
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 3:00 pm
It’s an absolute disgrace that this is still closed! With no rainfall forecast for at least the next 10 days surely the priority should be to clean the mud off the road and get it open! A week before Christmas local business’s must be suffering!
Roy West
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 3:15 pm
Absolutely disgraceful! What on earth have Cheshire East been doing for the past 10 days, or are they all working from their nice comfortable homes? Surely, we must have an inquiry after this fiasco.
Donald Strathdee
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 3:40 pm
Warford Lane in Great Warford has been under its usual foot plus of water, still there today. It floods every time after heavy rain but CE do not seem to care. Nothing has been done for years to clear the blocked drains.
Alastair Wolff
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 3:53 pm
It is completely unacceptable that this section of road has remained closed for so long, and it is indeed causing misery for locals, and commuters, alike. The excuses provided by Craig Browne of Cheshire East Council are woefully inadequate, and I cannot believe that he is actually the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee - is this not the very department that has allowed the shambles to arise?
Cheshire East Council may employ a contractor to do the work, but they are responsible for what the contractor does, and for checking that the work has been done correctly, so they cannot abdicate responsibility for the situation that has arisen.
And where is the sense of urgency - and a sustainable plan, to ensure the same thing cannot ever happen again?
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 6:50 pm
Craig ( Deputy Head of CEC and an important man who has portfolio responsibility for Highways ) gave us "peasants" a report yesterday having just got an update from Highways. This IS YOUR DEPARTMENT made all the national stations on traffic news. It is a mess .Emergency vehicles are stuck in town traffic in Wilmslow during the day. WHERE IS THE OVERSIGHT? Let's have a fulsome report and more updates please? Do not double down Craig as memories are long(Xmas lights and non social distancing last year). This is exactly why Boris is "on the ropes"( i.e Parties at No. 10) don't dismiss the great British Public. Hubris and apparent indifference have been the downfall of many a (once) great leader.
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 7:03 pm
There was nobody in attendance on Sunday at approx 2:00pm when I took a walk down and only 2 people and one tractor on Monday at 1:30pm.

The road was still closed at 7:15pm this evening when I drove past. And I would say that there did not appear to have been "further significant rainfall overnight", when ventured out this morning. Then again, who determines what "significant rainfall" actually means?

I have some sympathy for Councillor Craig Browne. He isn't the person responsible for what council officers get up to.

That's the job of the Chief Executive (Lorraine Odonnell)

I will be raising this at tomorrow's full council meeting.
Paul Wardle
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 7:45 pm
Totally unacceptable that this has been allowed to stay closed with minimal effort to reopen the by pass.

Questions need to be asked as to why this has not been prioritized with environmental impact and financial
Impact on Wilmslow and Alderley.

As usual we are just given excuses instead of action. Cheshire East Highways should gang their heads in shame!
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 10:10 pm
Stuart thanks for that...Ringway Jacobs teamleaders need to get down and have a look and move to Plan B. I might bother our MP
Marina McHugh
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 4:37 am
This is nothing to do with Boris Johnson and parties in number 10. This is the level of ineptitude of Cheshire East and it’s inability to maintain roads, pavements, grass verges, gutters, to clear up leaves and litter. We have overgrown hedges on roads and pavements, Road signs during summer months are often covered with overhanging trees and foliage. It’s a our local councillors walk about with their eyes closed?
Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 6:48 am
A woefully incompetent response.
I read on the sister site that the sourcing , manufacturer and blah blah blah of replacement pump (this should be pumps imo as surely you need a back up pump!). will take several months!
No prizes for guessing where the extra traffic will divert to to avoid the jams caused by a single lane bypass!…..
Heyes Lane has always been a major road in and out of the village (as aired on this very site by several residents in the past) and this incident has highlighted this point more than ever…..Can we be assured that the non gritting of Heyes will be overturned please Craig?
Mike Dudley-Jones
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 6:59 am
I am fortunate that I know Craig Browne extremely well. I also know how hard he works to honestly support the interests of Alderley Edge residents and the wider Cheshire East Community. I can assure you that he is not a man who sits behind a computer and spends his entire day ‘carping’ about the woes of a system and organisation he cannot easily change.

What he does and can do is to honestly report on what is happening so all of those he cares passionately about are given the facts. He does not lie or cheat or hide or
stay silent. He gives the best answer he can, as soon as he can. Because when he is not doing that he is trying to make things better and trying to explain to the 300 or so people, who email him each and every day, why things go wrong and what he is trying to do about them. He cares about those who are unhappy.

Very few people thank him for his tireless efforts but he seems not to worry about that.

Personally speaking, I know that he is an honest man and that is worth applauding. Join me in doing that! We are in a season of goodwill to all, are we not?
Marina McHugh
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 7:53 am
This is not about Craig Browne and what he does but what he is able to do. We still have pavements which have never been repaired since Ninex dug them up in the early nineties.
That’s just one example of neglect which Cheshire East is responsible for.
The place is a mess!!
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 8:07 am
Mike Dudley Jones thanks for the unofficial PR and cheerleading..we DONT care we need that Road opened. Craig may be all those things but he is accountable and draws a salary (as do his colleagues ) from the public purse..Perhaps Corcoran is more accountable as he awarded himself a big pay rise which Craig in all fairness did not. All those senior Highways leaders and Ringway Jacobs take a big salary PAID FOR BY US....where are they? Someone should have been on their case days ago. I am not interested in Sam Corcoran's pledges to COP26 and Greta Thunberg and all associated PR and glossy brochures paid for by us. These folk in Highways and CEC have taken "their eye off the ball" we need a major arterial route reopened it is the first time it has been closed COMPLETELY for a week since 96.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 8:26 am
Fiona I echo what you say . Heyes Lane is now one of the UK's "through routes" my wife is now scared to cross the road (up near Emersons) and the cats are confined to quarters as we dare not let them out. As for gritting, you are completely on the money. I believe diversion signage is woeful thus we are the "fall guys". They re tarmaced from Granthams up to this section by Emersons but the lower end of Heyes lane from Granthams to Trafford Road turn has been ignored and will remain barely patched for years. This section is going to be battered with all the heavy traffic.. thus, perhaps Craig can get it urgently prioritised for re-surfacing. Even before Government cuts Highways were fairly slow to react and I am afraid have for many years had a dismal record. Andrew Ross (Head of CEC Highways) is always happy however to be wheeled out for a self congratulatory phot op'
Stephen Maynard
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 9:07 am
I think the credibility of CE Highways management or lack of it in this case, calls for disciplinary action - how much money is being lost for business and people stuck in cars trying to get to and from work etc - total disgrace and these people need to be held accountable!! If it was a private sector business they would already have their P45 for incompetence. When do we get a rebate on business rates for all the delays and cost this is causing everyone - it should also be questioned why the focus was put in to shutting the old A34 into Wilmslow for months to install a cycle lane which you never see anyone using and Highways back then didn’t have the foresight to use that time to sort out the flooding- a total waste of taxpayers money as are the Highways management team
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 9:30 am
Marina McHugh raises a valuable point, blaming current budgetary constraints (which certainly exist) , austerity, and central government culling of funding does NOT always wash when there are examples such as those she references going back to the 90s. Cheshire East Highways has been utterly woeful and abysmal even during the days of abundant funds for public services under Blair and Brown. Too many chiefs and not enough ........s is an old non pc phrase which springs to mind

And why has there been only 1 pump at that site for the last 25 years? This same thing happened a couple of years ago...that is when the pump should have been upgraded. Appalling oversight and lack of will and management from CEC ... but as long as they keep paying the gardening leave and "golden goodbyes" for questionable council executives like Mike Suarez and others who left under HUGE black clouds and scandalous circumstance. Lorraine O' Donnell has a LOT of explaing to do.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 1:38 pm
Bob Dylan saw it coming......

Alderley Bypass Homesick Blues:

I'm on the pavement
Thinking ‘bout local government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't want to be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles
Marcus Holt
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 3:12 pm
I do love to see so many "bashing" our local councilor, because that's really going to work, how quickly we forget #bekind. I live half way down Heyes lane and can tell you its more inconvenient and detrimental to those of us on that rd than any of you councilor bashers living elsewhere in the village. It has taken 10 mins plus to simply drive out of my garage in the morning this week and yes i'm angry. I am more angry at the operational side of CEC highways, the lack of updated info from them (at least Cllr Browne is updating) the national roadwork website shows closure in place until 24th Dec, so more info on that than on CEC socials and website. Also why no warning signs further up the A34 to advise of the closure a week after the event? All this lays squarely with the operational management of CEC Highways, it is those who need to be held accountable. However, maybe they have asked for more signage, more bodies to sort the issue on the ground, who knows? One thing I am sure of is that the local councilors can chase, can jump up and down and can demand answers, but they have no immediate operational control. I have never met Cllr Browne, but I should imagine that him being a resident as well he also shares our frustrations at the woeful inadequacy of CEC highways and the operational execs.

Sadly, when the rd is reopened, the councilor bashers will move on to the next issue and forget this instead of continuing to demand answers for this issue (which is what I shall be doing along with many others on this rd.)

But it's ok, you will still be able to moan about a cycle lane being a waste of taxpayers money (which incidentally was not paid for from taxpayers money and has been stated as such in numerous posts on here) moan about potholes that have not been filled in (how many of you have actually reported them via the council website?) or even pavements still being wrong since they were dug up in the 90s, or of course all you can always pop your name on that ballot paper in 2023 so that you can do a better job.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 4:12 pm
@ Marcus Holt & Mike Dudley-Jones,

You make a fair point, that is that we shouldn't basically shoot the messenger.

I support Craig Browne and (for the large part) admire the work that he has done to better the lot of Alderley Edge residents - much of it out of hours or behind the scenes.

However, there's a rising tide (pun intended) of criticism about CEC Highways and the way in which they spend OUR money. Craig has sought to defend against the criticism by repeatedly blaming Central Govt. for cuts in funding (not unexpected from the deputy of a Labour leader) but this ignores the fact that other, similarly cash-strapped local authorities seem to manage their infrastructure much more efficiently and safely.

Lets forget the inconvenience caused to all of us by the temporary closure of Pendleton Way, the pictures of the flooding were horrific and it is fortunate that nobody was injured or drowned, certainly it seems that there was potential for that to happen.

I think CEC Highways have some serious questions to answer and if those questions are channeled through our local Councillor(s) that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 6:05 pm
Alan Brough has it spot on .. and the Bob Dylan reference is genius ;)) CEC Highways informed our son this morning that Pendleton Way would be open later this afternoon. It is eventide now and I swear I saw a pig flying over Alderley. I have driven home fom Dunham Massey just now and the bypass remains firmly CLOSED.
I am sure Craig might be a very nice man, I have no reason to doubt other folk's good opinion of him. Perhaps he is too nice. I recall Frank Keegan getting very Rottweilerish with Highways (and Ringway Jacobs chief Marc Averil ) over a festering local Highways issue when Alderley village was dug up several years ago. The desired results were attained fairly promptly, I know it does not pay to look back but I am feeling almost wistful at the memories. Has Stuart Redgard or Councillor Brown had an update from this morning's meeting. Highways website was still not functioning at midday today
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 6:17 pm
Marcus Holt some of us criticising the apparent inaction do live on Heyes Lane...peehaps a re read of the assorted comments is in order:))
Craig Browne
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 7:30 pm
Dear all,

As promised, I am pleased to provide a further update on the closure of Pendleton Way. The arrival of mobile pumps is expected imminently; however, in order to make them secure, they will need to be sited in container units which in turn will require a single lane closure of the northbound carriageway. Once these pumps are on site, have been tested and are working satisfactorily, Pendleton Way will be reopened (expected tomorrow). Earlier this evening I spoke to CE Highways officers on-site, where they had been pumping out the attenuation tanks to a depth of 6m. This is an important part of their work, since if there is no remaining capacity within the tanks the bypass will just flood again at the next rainfall.

Having read some of the comments above, it also occurs to me that I perhaps need to give a bit more of an insight into the role of elected members, vis-a-vis officers of the council. Elected members do have a role in holding officers to account and in challenging officers in a way that is appropriate and respectful; however, they also need to work in partnership with officers to ensure local ward priorities are understood. Elected members have no role in the line management of officers and similarly, chairs of the council's policy making committees do not manage the department(s) their committees relate to. Chairs are however, expected to be spokespersons for their respective committees and the policy decisions they make.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 8:50 pm
I am sorry. I have photographic evidence which can demonstrate that "Cheshire East Council's highways teams were NOT on site throughout the weekend. They were also not onsite at 9: 21pm this evening.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 9:28 pm

I hope you’ll forgive me for pointing out that the last paragraph of your above post could have been lifted directly from a “Yes Minister” script. Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud of that one!
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 16th December 2021 at 12:09 am
Well said Stuart, our son was told by CEC Highways Information centre that gangs had been deployed on site all weekend...they take us for fools.
Thanks Craig. Let's sincerely hope they DO have them working before the weekend (as we know they wont bother treating it with any urgency on a Saturday and Sunday). Andrew Ross or his deputy should come on here and apologise and we need to understand why this department has been consistently dreadful ( this predates austerity, Craig and goes back a good few years). Whilst I have every sympathy for Council staff on the frontline being abused by some irate members of the public and would abhor the bad behaviour, I would have no problem with seeing senior managers past and present who have presided over highways cockups holding a public Q and A with indignant council tax payers.
A certain arrogance and stubborn mindset has been infesting parts of our council for many years. I remember speaking to a very senior gent who was Erica Wentzl's deputy a few years back. He was incredibly rude and short tempered as he felt it was an abomination that an ordinary member of the public should have been put through to his direct line. Iwas very polite and only wanted an honest answer about Erica's long gardening leave and huge payoff ;)) It only takes a few overpaid over promoted
incompetents at the top to drag the whole council down, it must be hugely demoralising for the hardworking and dedicated sorts at CEC.
I suspect that when the bypass flooded in January 2020 Highways staff knew the pump was close to going...and then along came a pandemic some might say it has been a dreadul but useful distraction.
Fiona Doorbar
Thursday 16th December 2021 at 4:15 pm
The bypass better well open soon as I have been verbally abused today by an irate driver on Heyes Lane when trying to join the carriageway from my driveway!
Craig Browne
Thursday 16th December 2021 at 6:12 pm
Dear all,

I am pleased to confirm that the southbound carriageway of Pendleton Way has reopened this evening. CE Highways engineers are working hard to have at least one lane of the northbound carriageway open tomorrow.

Kind regards,
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 16th December 2021 at 7:30 pm
There are some very impatient commuters out there Fiona...I mean how dare we live on a "rat run" ;)) That is encouraging news Craig. Can they facilitate all this without the need for traffic lights. Also will someone in CEC be keeping tabs on the diesel levels for the pump?
Sally Hirst
Friday 17th December 2021 at 3:41 pm
Today on Hough Lane (that becomes Heyes Lane) a woman was struggling to push a person in a wheelchair.
NO PAVEMENT, narrow road, blind bends and potholes. The 2 people had to move with the queue of traffic towards Wilmslow until a pavement started. We felt desperately sorry for them and my passenger took pictures to send to CEC. It is a shame that a pavement does not join Alderley with Wilmslow along this section of the road. The A34 closing has hi-lighted to people how important this route is. Walkers have to step into bushes to avoid traffic, and this road is on the Cycle Route for Cheshire East. If another grant appears, (which has always been tax payers money!), please could this be high on the list.
Paul Wardle
Friday 17th December 2021 at 5:21 pm
Well here we are on Friday evening and traffic chock a block in Wilmslow again despite one carriageway open.

Signage around the area is terrible and I simply cannot believe that this Council is allowing this to carry on?

Empty comments about reopening dates come and go. No rain for days yet this Council simply not getting to grips with the problem.

The economic and environmental cost to the local area at this time will be devastating!
Alan Brough
Friday 17th December 2021 at 5:59 pm
I’m confused as to why a lane needs to be taken out to house the pump / container. Surely two scoops with a digger could have created a suitable ledge in the embankment to locate the container?
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 18th December 2021 at 1:13 pm
Well apparently Northbound is not going to be open until the 23rd December now according to Highways control . There is CLEARLY no urgency...any updates Craig? Perhaps the Excutive could make sure Ringway Jacobs are not our subcontractors when the next review date arrives. This should not have allowed to get so out of hand. That fine local gent Manuel Golding says that proper maintenance has not been carried out for at least 10 years and he remembers the agreements/ promises made to locals at the bypass inception.His excellent comment can be seen on the Wilmslow site
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 18th December 2021 at 1:40 pm
Just another point for Councillor Browne to address Handforth Dean Boots is a vaccine centre and people are missing their alloted time slots because of this ridiculous fiasco and the lack of urgency on the paemrt of Ringway Jacobs..
Jon Williams
Saturday 18th December 2021 at 2:30 pm
15 year fixed term

We will have to suffer for a few years yet, no one should have a contract that long, C/E won't be around then !
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 18th December 2021 at 8:44 pm
Jon Williams....nail on head.
Roy West
Monday 20th December 2021 at 10:04 am
If Jon Williams is correct then surely the contractors are in breach of their contract and should be made accountable. I cannot understand why the road cannot be opened in the meantime, it is perfectly clear of any sign of damage and is causing complete mayhem in Wilmslow. Rush hour traffic could have been allowed this morning, Monday, nobody working on the road, so why is it closed?
Paul Wardle
Monday 20th December 2021 at 2:18 pm
Totally agree with Roy.

Carriageway northbound completely clear whilst mayhem continues on surrounding roads!

Get the damn thing reopened!!!
Craig Browne
Monday 20th December 2021 at 4:13 pm
Dear all,

Following a briefing from officers this afternoon, I am pleased to provide a further update.

The northbound carriageway of the bypass will be reopening on Wednesday evening. The delay has been due to the need to install concrete barrier protection, as a result of which both northbound lanes will be narrowed and have a reduced speed restriction whilst the temporary pumps are in place. Contractors will be installing the barrier protection over the course of the next two days.

The long term solution is likely to be both complex and costly, involving the replacement of the existing pumping station. The pumps failed as a result of a fallen tree obstructing Whitehall Brook and causing the pumping chambers themselves to become flooded, which in turn caused the equipment to short circuit. In every other respect, the pumps were serviced and in working order.

I thank everyone for their continued patience and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a peaceful and restful Christmas period.

Best wishes,
Fiona Braybrooke
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 6:59 pm
I read and understand the frustrations this has created by the closure. In the bigger picture the whole of the road network in our area is overloaded. We will just move onto another hotspot. A few miles up the road at the Handforth Dean junction has been grid locked for years. The more houses they build in the area will only compound the problem
Alan Brough
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 9:01 pm
Won’t be long before the sods start turning the first turves of the Hanging Gardens Village of Handforth development and displace another few million gallons of water towards……who knows where?