Safe Walking Routes to School

As more new houses are built and our village gets bigger, the challenges of creating safe walking routes to school 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 to the Hermitage Primary School

The photo above was downloaded from google street view, the school warning sign has now 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.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak and the necessity for social distancing this was an intolerable situation. Now the only way to comply with social distancing requirements as per the stickers on our pavements is to walk in the road to avoid oncoming pedestrians (see jogger avoiding photographer!)

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.

8th September 2020

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 

 

LA 

18th September 2020

 

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. 

Thanks

AS

31st August 2020




 

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 SWRTS@hcpartnership.org.uk

The Cottons Estate to Middlewich Road School and the Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

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 someone is killed. We are of the opinion that the speed limit should be reduced to 40 mph as cars leave the motorway roundabout, as is, in fact, the case if they travel west towards Middlewich, and then down 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 have read your post on the Concerns Facebook group. 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.

 

Regards 

DW

31st August 2020

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 paths 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.

 

Thanks
GL
A Cottons Resident

31st August 2020

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 5year 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, 
LA

1st September 2020
 

We have received this e-mail from our local Cheshire East Councillor Les Gilbert in response to our current Newsletter

Hazel

 

Having read your ill-informed personal attack on me in the October Newsletter, I suggest that it would be appropriate for you to seek alternative Cheshire East representation on the Partnership Committee.

 

The footpath link from the Cottons to Ravenscroft which you are seeking is not deliverable without the co-operation of Persimmon which has not been forthcoming.

 

The possible access to an unmade and unlit track is in the wrong place on the Cottons estate and, so far as I am aware, there is no public right of way over the track.  I am actively pursuing a more practicable solution for the residents of the Cottons.

 

I ask that you publish my response in the next edition of the Newsletter.

 

Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Councillor 

3rd October 2020

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 SWRTS@hcpartnership.org.uk

Brooklands Estate to Middlewich Road, Hermitage & the Comprehensive 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 

SP 

31st August 2020 

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 years old 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
31st August 2020

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 SWRTS@hcpartnership.org.uk

ABOUT US

Holmes Chapel Partnership is an independent voluntary organisation with professional help from a part time Project Officer. The purpose is to facilitate projects which benefit the whole community in and around Holmes Chapel.

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Holmes Chapel Partnership

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Crewe

Cheshire

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