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Safe Walking Routes

As part of the 'Safe Walking Routes to School' Initiative, we are keen to hear the experiences of residents walking to our local schools. Please email us at with any comments that you hope will help us identify what improvements are required to make a walk to school a safer and enjoyable experience for all.

As more new houses are built and our village gets bigger, the challenges of creating safe walking routes for everyone, but particularly to schools have also increased. If we look at a street map of Holmes Chapel below the location of our new estates have been marked with the house symbol. It would appear that many parents have decided that a walk to school from these new estates is simply not safe, especially for people who live east of the railway line. This page will feature the problems encountered by families who live on these new estates in relation to getting to school safely.

Saltersford Gardens & Victoria Mills to Hermitage Primary School

The photo above was downloaded from google street view, the school warning sign has since been removed!

Liz Alcock has been campaigning on this subject for some time. She lives on the Saltersford Gardens estate within walking distance of the Hermitage School and that is how she would choose to get her 5 year old son to school but it turns out to be a scary business!


As you will all know there is only a footpath on the south side of Macclesfield Road so a crossing has been created for the residents of Saltersford Gardens to access this footpath – so far, so good! The footpath is not wide and going up to the railway bridge and coming down the other side is a hedge that frequently gets overgrown making the pavement even narrower. The road itself is not wide enough for the HGVs that use it and the downhill stretch heading into the village increases the speed of the traffic. When you get to Hermitage Drive you need to cross back over the road but this time there is no crossing so you have to go it alone.

Wondering whether other people perceived the difficulties of this walk she carried out a survey of 141 Holmes Chapel residents and discovered that she was not alone – 86% of the people who responded did not feel safe walking along this stretch of pavement. Some typical responses were:

“If there is another pedestrian coming the other way one of you has to go into oncoming traffic to pass. If there were two prams this is extremely dangerous as cars speed past. Lorries are so wide they almost touch us as we walk.”

“pedestrians have to walk on the busy road for people in wheelchairs, pushchairs etc to get by”

“lorries wing mirrors overhang pavement and I've nearly been hit several times”

“scary when a lorry passes within a centimetre of you!”

“Larger vehicles come right over to the point we have to stop walking and move in as close as we can just to stay out of the way.”

“have been very close to being clipped by a car on this stretch. Terrifying when kids present”

Liz wrote to Cheshire East with her findings and received a very unsatisfactory response from Highways who maintain that, according to their records, there is no problem with speeding, that the bridge is Network Rail’s responsibility anyway and that they have no plans to install further pedestrian safety measures.

As no one from the Highways team actually put their name to the letter, Liz has now sent a further letter to Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council reiterating her problems and refuting – with evidence – the responses of the Highways team.

Holmes Chapel Partnership would like to support Liz in her campaign – indeed we have been campaigning for a 20mph limit along Macclesfield Road as part of the Active Travel Initiative.

We have received the following e-mails from others in the village who also have concerns:

I agree with the concerns raised by Liz in this campaign. I find it hard to negotiate a pram and a five year old safely over the bridge and across the road to school. The speed of the traffic and width of the path adds to the problem of no crossing to get across to the school. My five year old often has to walk ahead of me or behind me alone. Not ideal.


The kind residents of Holmes Chapel heading in the opposite direction often risk life and limb by walking in the road so we can pass each other on this path. Even more essential now we need to social distance. It's scary as it's a blind spot as traffic heads over the hill at speed (and above the speed limit as the flashing lights provide evidence for). 


I understand it would be difficult to widen the path on the bridge but a barrier at the top and widening of the path either side would be a great start. A crossing on the other side would be wonderful to get us safely to school.


Thank you

JB, Mother of two.

Good morning, I’m writing in Relation to safety crossing Macclesfield Road in Holmes Chapel for school drop-off and collection.

I have lived in Macclesfield Road for 15 years, As a family we have negotiated a busy crossing for the past six years. Our location on the road means it’s not unreasonable to use the crossing further down the road towards the shops.

Many of the new parents at Hermitage primary have expressed a concern for how dangerous the road is for families walking from the two new estates towards manor lane. The village is a busier place and the safety of our children does need to be addressed. 

I wish to show my support and ask if there is anything that can be done to help these families have more confidence on the way and way back from school. 

Kind regards 



I have been in touch with Cheshire East, especially with regards to the roundabout after witnessing an awful accident back in February. Many people have seen other accidents and the police encouraged me to contact the council as they have limited powers. 

The path is equally a nightmare- overgrown hedges but the lorry mirrors go over the path! 

Will be in touch Wk 9th September. 




Request for School Crossing Patrol turned down

With the new houses built on the Victoria Mills site bringing fresh concerns for pedestrians, in July 2022 we again reported on the situation on Macclesfield Road concerning a safe crossing point for the Hermitage Primary School. Holmes Chapel Partnership and the Parish Council were trying to arrange a crossing patrol to see parents and children across safely at school start and finish times.

This was the result of the assessment undertaken by Cheshire East reviewing the crossing point at the junction of Macclesfield Road and Hermitage Drive :

  • The assessment was based on the number of primary aged pupils travelling to school but also factored in pupils travelling to secondary schools and traffic volume. The traffic count was carried out for 45 minutes with the highest number of pedestrians and passenger vehicle units (PCU’s) recorded between 8.25am and 8.55am. Pupils were walking to Hermitage Primary School.

  • The assessment also considered the speed of traffic, width of footway and road, gradient, visibility, street lighting, road signs, road markings, location of junctions, parking, nearest pedestrian crossing facilities, accident record traffic volume and age factor.

  • It was noted that although the traffic was high, there were suitable gaps and pedestrians were able to cross the road, although it was necessary to wait for a gap in the traffic. The majority of pedestrians, who crossed Macclesfield Road, came from the village end of the road and used the Puffin crossing to access Hermitage Primary School. Pupils were seen walking to the local high school but did not cross the road at the assessment point and most pupils who crossed Macclesfield Road came in the direction of the railway bridge. There were 2 accompanied pupils who walked from Victoria Mills.

  •  When applying these findings to the criteria it was concluded that at this present time the site unfortunately does not qualify for a school crossing patrol. It was however noted, that there is a housing development in construction close to the location that was assessed. When completed this estate could produce large numbers of pupils who will potentially attend the Hermitage Primary School and will need to cross the road.

  •  A further assessment will be carried out in the future once the housing estate is occupied more fully and the number of pupils needing to cross the road has increased.

A chicken and egg situation! Children and parents don’t feel it is safe to walk to school, so they don’t and consequently the official criteria are not fulfilled. This is the hurdle that our Safe Walking Routes to School campaign is trying to overcome in order to encourage more people to walk.

Following this Hazel Sutcliffe and Liz Alcock met with the Cheshire East Road Safety Team Leader Aki Tsakonas and walked with him from Aldi to the Hermitage School at the end of the school day, pointing out the challenges for parents and children wishing to walk to and from school— and above all to cross Macclesfield Road safely.

He was concerned about the width of the access to the Victoria Mills development and noted:

"The Victoria Mills development plan, approved several years ago, does not show a refuge for walking across the wide access off Macclesfield Road. Therefore, I am raising this internally with the development officer together with the fact that the development’s footway does not link to the existing public footway due to the ‘Cheshire railing’’ obstruction."

We are very pleased that improvements have been made in early 2023 with the railings removed and the footpath extended.

We also pointed out the lack of signage to make drivers aware that Macclesfield Road is a school route.

His response was:

"I will propose the provision of a sign ‘children going to/from school’ with a ‘school’ plate on a new post at the bridge and facing westbound traffic. These will be added to the list of small improvement proposals for approval (the next submission is February 2023) while I will arrange for the two redundant internally illuminated posts at the bridge to be removed." 

Contact Us

We are very interested to know your views, if you have any comments about this initiative please let us know by sending an e-mail to this address

The Cottons Estate to Holmes Chapel Primary School and Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

Middlewich Road Crossing.jpg

The Cottons Estate is located to the left of Middlewich Road as you come into the village from the M6. According to the original plans presented in the public consultation, there was meant to be a footpath linking the Cottons Estate with Ravenscroft. Why was this never built? We are told that the residents of Ravenscroft when surveyed, were not keen on this link. But this means that residents from the Cottons Estate have to use the crossing in the photo above or drive their children to school.

The issue is that this crossing is still within the 40 mph zone as vehicles travel from the motorway. The speed limit is not reduced to 30 mph until after the crossing. The result is that this crossing is a death trap and its only a matter of time until an accident occurs. The speed limit should be reduced to 30 mph before the crossing. Currently, this crossing is so unsafe many residents refuse to use it and simply drive from the estate.

We have received the following e-mails from others in the village who also have concerns:

I live on the New Cottons Estate. We have a massive issue with road safety along Middlewich road. For example, I walked my new year 7 to her transition day at The Comp last Thursday. As we have so many concerns with the road I was using the time to teach about road safety.


We used the Pelican crossing that has been installed. The lights went red- the green man started beeping and flashing.  As we we’re about to cross I noticed a car approaching far to fast so I told my girls to wait. Sure enough, the car didn’t slow down and carried on through the red light. I also had my 7-year-old with me and if she had just been following the rules of the road and crossed when the green man flashed- she would now be dead. I screamed at the car and she stopped further up and I had a few choice words.

We have had numerous near misses and the speed that all vehicles go passed is awful.


I have contacted the Police, Parish Council and Cheshire East Highways- all giving the same response “there’s not a speed issue in your area” or saying it wasn’t their issue and to contact one of the other ones.


We have had a police speed test thing installed for a few days- but it was highly visible so cars obviously slowed down.


I’m not sure if you are familiar with our stretch of road but drivers seem to think it’s an extension of the motorway and do excessive speed. Then the powers that be put the stretch of road before the crossing to 40 mph and then directly after it a 30 mph.


Also, all the trees need cutting down directly at the crossing as you have to stick your head and body out to see if there are cars coming.


I now feel sick at the thought of my daughter starting to walk to school on her own and because of this, we are not allowing her to do so. My husband is changing his work hours so he can make sure she safely walks to school.


Thank you for highlighting this and I hope we can make a change. I am so angry about the situation.




Thank you for raising the topic of safe walks for School Children (and anyone else) in Holmes Chapel.

There was meant to be a footpath that links Cottons to Ravenscroft (the builders reneged and never finished it). There is still space for it to happen - it just needs linking up. 

This path would avoid children having to cross the very busy main Middlewich Road which has many speeding cars and poorly visible signs. The traffic calming to 30 mph only happens after the pedestrian crossing into Holmes Chapel and many will vouch that cars are often still doing 50-60mph near the Coop Garage.


Cars also accelerate towards the motorway in the other direction. Children have to use the pedestrian crossing and then walk up a very busy main road getting buffeted by lorries on a narrow path. Many children also don’t wait for the red light and cross the road regardless but looking to the right the bend obscures the view of cars coming down - and when at speed it’s a risky manoeuvre. 

Linking this path up to Ravenscroft would enable the Cottons residents to walk almost the whole way into HC without having to go near the main road. This has surely to be a huge benefit?

The Lakes estate and Ravenscroft, and many others in HC, have loads of interconnecting paths - the Cottons residents are only asking for one path, which was promised at the start of the development before Persimmon (who have a terrible national reputation) reneged on the promise. 

Please can you put pressure on this path to be investigated and actioned? I feel it’s only a matter of time until there is an incident at the pedestrian crossing otherwise.


A Cottons Resident

Thank you for highlighting the issues in your recent article about safe walking routes to school. I have been personally affected by this issue as a resident of the new Cottons estate. 

Prior to moving to the Cottons estate my husband and I lived in Lochmaben close, off Portree Drive so we’re able to appreciate the local access with ease. When purchasing our new family home on the Cottons estate we were advised a number of things were in place to allow for integration into the village and settle our concerns about living so close to the main road-the pelican crossing (with direct access to the Lakes estate), the cut-through access to the neighbouring Ravenscroft estate, and the development being included in the village 30mph zone. None of which have fully been delivered. 

I have a 5-year-old son who started at Holmes Chapel Primary School in Sept 2019, and for the first 3 weeks we walked to school, however, since then we have chosen to drive even though some mornings due to traffic it would have been quicker to walk. My reason you ask? My son nearly got knocked over by a car whilst crossing the road holding my husband's hand with me walking behind them. My husband mouthed ‘watch where you’re going!’ To the woman who rolled down her window and shouted ‘F*** O**!’ 

I reported her to the police but nothing was done. I had to explain that the woman’s behaviour was unacceptable and that the words she used weren’t nice. It wasn’t that she couldn’t see us as my son was wearing a bright orange coat, me a red coat and my husband a grey coat. We agreed that walking to school during dull days was too risky. 

We have occasionally walked when the weather was pleasant but after walking down Middlewich road that is only just wide enough for single-file walking in points and meeting children walking to the comp in the opposite direction and being forced into the road with a 5 year old, HGV’s and speeding traffic it’s very unnerving. 

I live in a house near the newly installed crossing from the Cottons estate and regularly hear the screeching of breaks and beeping of horns when the crossing is bleeping. I have also been witness to a teenage boy being knocked off his bike on the crossing who just walked it off as he was too embarrassed! I offered to walk him home but he refused, a passing police car which had civilians in the back did speak to the boy at the time but nothing was recorded as he just wanted to get home limping. 

There was another time where I was waiting to cross to pop to the Co-op and an HGV, clearly speeding failed to stop at the red light, luckily I was alone and not with my son. 

When my son returns to school later this week we will be driving as it just is not safe for us to walk not only due to the pavements being too narrow but also due to the speeding traffic that no one seems to want to address. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Warmest regards, 

Since we started highlighting these issues Cheshire East have now created a pedestrian cut through from this crossing into the Lakes Estate to avoid walking along the busy main road. This is especially useful for children walking to the Comprehensive School. Holmes Chapel Parish Council continue to investigate whether the path to Ravescroft is viable. 

Contact Us

We are very interested to know your views, if you have any comments about this initiative please let us know by sending an e-mail to this address

Brooklands Estate to all schools

The Brooklands Estate is located next to the Holmes Chapel Community Centre, off the A54, and on the right, as you travel towards Congleton. Here again, the problem for residents from this estate is crossing the railway line on either Station Road or Macclesfield Road. On both routes, the paths are not wide enough and the pinch-points are the bridges crossing the railway line. 


We have received the following e-mails from others in the village that have concerns:

I live on the Brooklands Estate in Holmes Chapel.  I have 3 children all at Hermitage Primary School and preschool. I often drive my car to school as I don’t feel entirely confident waking. 

The narrow paths and speed/width of vehicles make me nervous. My very tall 3-year-old is forced to sit in his Pram, he only has to stick his leg out sideways into the road, and he is at risk of being hit by a car. 

I make my nearly 5-year-old daughter walk between the pram handles, and my 6-year-old son walks slowly down the hills, holding his scooter. I fear if he accidentally tripped or let go of his scooter, it would roll into the road, and without thinking, he would reach and grab it. Making him at huge risk of being hit by a car.

I have also experienced my friends' daughter, on a frosty winters morning, slowly slipping into the road on ice.

The width of the payment leaves no room for error. It is only a matter of time before there will be a horrific accident, and especially with the increased housing and families now living in Holmes Chapel.

I’m pleased Liz Alcock has continued to pursue the issue. 

Road safely is so important

Kindest Regards 


Thank you for your efforts on campaigning for safer routes to school.  

We live on Dee Avenue which features on your map outlining safe routes but as you can clearly see from it, there is no safe beginning to our journey.  We have to traverse Station Road every day with HGVs and tractors thundering past at extremely close proximity, especially on the tiny pavement leading up and over the railway bridge.  It is an extremely unnerving walk with my three and six year olds and indeed, many parents who live on our estate refuse to do it.  Any support you can offer in making that part of the walk safer, including crossing the wide station entrance would be greatly appreciated.  

As a starting point could the partnership or local council at least fund some Visible street signs which show children are walking along that route?

Many thanks, KP

I just wanted to let you know that I'm very supportive of this initiative. I live on the Brooklands estate and my son attends Holmes Chapel Primary. I routinely drive and park on Westway rather than walking due to the narrow pavements along Station Road. Parts of the walk are pretty terrifying with a small child and totally inappropriate for prams etc.


Is there still an option for a pedestrian link from the back of phase 2 of the Brooklands to the main road via the land where Sainsbury's once planned to be? This would completely negate the need to use the old railway crossing and make for a much safer walk! Looks like this is half built by Bellway already- just needs linking up!


Thanks, AS

Dear Cllr Gilbert and Cllr Kolker,


Thank you for the reply. I was pleased to see the 20 is Plenty vote being a success.


However, now is the time to push on and do more and do it more quickly before there is a tragic accident in Holmes Chapel that everyone will look upon and say ‘it could have been avoided’. I am surprised at the need for public consultation on a matter of such importance where obvious and speedy solutions can be implemented. Why not implement 20 and consult if it needs to be increased to 25, so we are starting off safe?


I walked my daughter to school this morning and was lucky not to be hit by the wing mirror of a lorry as it descended the road (A54 / Station Road) having gone over the railway bridge in the direction of Davenport. This was approximately 30m after the brow of the hill/bridge (outside the Swan Inn). I am 6’ tall, and I believe that if I were 6’ 2” I would have been struck by the protruding wing mirror. During the walk, multiple other vehicles which I assume to be classed as HGV’s sped by only inches away from the pavement edge, and dangerously close to my daughter and my neighbour and his 2 year old son. This is the walking route from a new Housing Development in Holmes Chapel and the Holmes Chapel Pre-School where hundreds of people live, and I cannot understand how any approval was ever made for housing without the provision of safe walking routes?


The overall situation is a disgrace and incredibly dangerous to young and old alike and I call upon you and fellow Councillors to take on this challenge ASAP in order to make Holmes Chapel a safe walking location.


I would be happy to be interviewed, to share my views, to support any kind of activity that I can as I think there is a critical imperative for change. I would implore you to do these simple walks with members of your family and see how you feel. Image anyone who is suffering with a disability, or who has more than one child? The walk to and from pre-school would be impossible without a massive increase in the inherent risk - just to take children to school? What is the alternative? More traffic on the roads for a journey that is this short? More pollution and more parking issues?


My wife was almost struck in a similar location only last week on the walk and it is getting worse with the heavy traffic through Holmes Chapel and when there are issues on the M6, it’s an even bigger issue. The road network through Holmes Chapel could not ever have been expected to support this level of heavy traffic?


In terms of solutions, the 20 limit throughout the village would help, a weight limit on traffic, and a complete ban on HGV’s from 8-10 (am) and 3-6 (pm) would be a start. The bridge and area around this could be made one way so traffic can more safely be in the middle of the already narrow roadway? Detours around Holmes Chapel could help as well? The area of road approaching the A54 as you approach the entrance to the 'Bellway Estate’ should also be better policed, monitored and slowed down for safety. Mill Lane needs to be restricted to 20mph as that continues to be a ‘rat run’ for cars and again, it’s not a road designed for the use it is seeing.


If you really wanted to start making a big difference, make the A50 through the centre of Holmes Chapel a no traffic zone or again, one way. Be creative and put some thought into solutions for the future of the whole village.


I implore you to act before it’s too late.


Kind regards, RB

Contact Us

We are very interested to know your views, if you have any comments about this initiative please let us know by sending an e-mail to this address

Update from 20s Plenty

Every highway authority that said no to 20mph will say ‘yes’ at some point. 20s Plenty’s role is to advance that time. A decade ago, almost all UK local authorities endorsed 30mph as the right speed limit where people live, work and play. Today, some 26m people in the UK live in local authorities committed to 20mph as the de facto default speed limit. Most of London, Scotland, all of Wales, all of the larger cities and many other urban and rural authorities either are, or soon will be, 20mph places.

  1. Campaigning at county level succeeds. While 20mph is already the norm in cities and larger towns, it has been slower to catch on in more rural areas. Whereas past campaigning focused on individual schemes, more success is being achieved through county-wide campaigns, as seen in Hampshire, North Yorkshire, Cornwall and elsewhere. Parish and Town Council support is a vital ingredient for this success.

  2. New research shows greater benefits from 20mph than previously thought. We have known for some time that lower limits reduce speed. The latest data from Scottish Borders, Oxfordshire, Wales and Kent shows that 20mph brings greater speed reductions than the often quoted ‘1 to 2 mph’ – up to 5 or 6 mph on faster roads. Tailpipe emissions are 33% higher at 30mph than 20mph. As well as being more fuel efficient due to less acceleration and braking, new research shows that 20mph speed limits do not significantly increase journey times.

  3. Signed-only 20mph implemented on roads >24mph without police enforcement. Scottish Borders, Oxfordshire, Cornwall and Kent are implementing wide area 20mph with little engineering, even in places with faster speeds. Some of these authorities state specifically that pre-existing speeds are not a factor when deciding on 20mph. Wales has announced 17th September 2023 as the date for its nationwide 20mph roll out without the expectation of significant police enforcement

  4. More places commit to 20mph / 30kph nationally and internationally. Although the new administration in Cornwall had already committed to 20mph, it was surprised by the high level of community support and has announced a county-wide 20mph by 2026. Gloucestershire’s commitment to Vision Zero includes 20mph, a pre-requisite for the increasing number of Local Authorities across the UK that are adopting Vision Zero. Spain and the Netherlands are all implementing 30kph nationwide.

Cheshire East Highways Policy (Speed Strategy 2022):

Mandatory 20mph speed limits and zones can be considered in those locations where self- compliance is or can be achieved through:
• The nature of the road layout

• The presence of traffic calming features

• Where a fundamental change in the nature of the road would support such a speed limit.

As a starting point, 20mph areas are potentially appropriate on residential streets and town centres. Some high streets may also be suitable, depending on their character and location.

Where existing speeds are over 24mph, the implementation of a 20mph area will require traffic calming and/or technological measures to reduce and control speed to the appropriate levels and support self-compliance (see point 3 above as a contrast).

Advisory 20mph speed limits can be introduced outside schools. These advisory provisions are not legally enforceable and do not require a traffic regulation order but are a tool to encourage behavioural change. Any advisory 20mph speed limit will operate during school start and finish times. (Would this be appropriate for Macclesfield Road given the evidence of our Speedwatchers?)

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