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
This photo 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 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