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Cheshire East Council have been accused by the Middlewich Labour group of prioritising the convenience of motorists over the safety of pedestrians.

It emerged at the town council meeting on 17th October that Cheshire East, in conjunction with Middlewich borough councillors, have completed a review of the Newton Bank gyratory without first speaking to residents, and have proposed a solution which is unlikely to solve their problems, whilst also dashing hopes for a much-needed crossing on Nantwich Road.

The proposed changes to Newton Bank would see a widening of the central refuge by the lawnmower shop, therefore narrowing the road slightly.

Cllr Jonathan Parry said, “If you want to cross safely either on Newton Bank, Nantwich Road or Chester Road, there is only one way to do it – and that is to stop the traffic. These are routes that school children have to walk every day, and by not providing a proper crossing we are putting them in danger.”

Cllr Carol Bulman added, “The Newton Bank stretch of the one way system is a death trap for pedestrians and requires urgent action. Residents in some cases have been unable to make their views known to Cheshire East precisely because of the density and speed of traffic at Newton Bank. The elderly in particular have found it difficult to walk across town to attend the recent St Mary's traffic consultations.”

Cllr Mike Hunter concluded, “Two things disappoint me about what I am hearing. Firstly, they are planning to use the £30,000 development money which was meant to contribute towards a crossing on Nantwich Road – which is itself vitally needed – and secondly, they appear to have designed a solution that will get as close as possible to that figure. What they should do is design the correct solution and then allocate appropriate funds.

 “Cheshire East are hiding behind the wording of a Section 106 legal agreement to short-change the residents of Nantwich Road and Newton Bank and it seems that the Middlewich First borough councillors are letting them get away with it. A traffic scheme has been drawn up on the back of a one-hour visit by Cllr Bernice Walmsley and a CEC highways officer. Residents in that area have been waiting for a controlled crossing area, and now Cheshire East and Middlewich First have come up with a cheap alternative which will still leave pedestrians trying to cross at the mercy of the traffic.

“As a Middlewich councillor I will not sit back and let Middlewich get palmed off with schemes that fit a price rather than fix the problem. After all, Cheshire East managed to find hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on a bike race.”