Reader's Letter: A34 roundabouts

All the users of the A34 between Wilmslow, Dean Row and Handforth Dean must have noticed the superbly tended roundabout leading off to Wilmslow – no doubt a great help to the Wilmslow In Bloom Gold Award.

Meanwhile Cheshire East Council appear to be happy to leave the 2 roundabouts to the north serving Dean Row and Handforth Dean to be massively overgrown , covered in weeds and with damaged signage . I am amazed that companies are paying to have advertising signage on these!

There is no excuse not to maintain these to the same standard, especially as we don't have the excuse of the A34/A555 roadworks.

Perhaps the new council can deal with these eyesores and provide a better showcase along the A34 and into the access roads?

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Comments

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

Nik Eastwood
Thursday 26th September 2019 at 5:13 pm
there is no point making them nice because drivers crash into and over the roundabouts on a regular basis, you would think these drivers were blind to miss the roundabouts.

the handforth dean roundabout will likely be altered when they start on the garden village scheme, I have seen "officials" measuring and surveying it on a few occasions.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 26th September 2019 at 5:54 pm
I wouldn't much fancy gardening as the traffic flies past.
Toni Fox
Friday 27th September 2019 at 11:22 am
Dear Alan,

Thank you for highlighting this issue as it is something that I raised with Councillor Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Highways, last week. I also brought to his attention the amount of litter along the verges and the overgrown shrubs and trees that are obscuring signage.

For Health and Safety reasons maintenance of the verges and the roundabouts does necessitate lane closures, which inevitably has an impact on traffic, however once yearly maintenance is not in my view adequate for one of the main arterial routes into the north of the borough.

Councillor Roberts has assured me that he will look into this matter and I will forward this article to him to assist with his enquiries.

Councillor Toni Fox
Ward councillor for Dean Row, Wilmslow
Fiona Doorbar
Saturday 28th September 2019 at 7:21 am
It would be great if they could be maintained but anything would look better than the mess they are currently.....block paved?.....fake turf?....maybe the council need to think about other low maintenance options and concentrate their efforts on keeping drains unblocked, roads free from potholes and cycle lanes useable !?
David Smith
Monday 30th September 2019 at 8:16 am
The speed limits on the A34 bypass and the Alderley Edge bypass should be 40mph in the interest of safety. The A34 is a popular 'racing track' for cars and bikes to rev their engines by their 'boy racer' occupants and forcing Wilmslow residents to 'enjoy' the racket from their exhausts. I don't live very near to the A34 but can hear it even inside my home - so why is everyone putting up with this nonsense and not asking our elected councillors to do something about it? This noise nuisance seems to reach a peak at times of a F1 Grand Prix race; such is the apparent moronic, macho mentality of those involved.
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 30th September 2019 at 9:57 am
@David Smith

Noisy cars are still noisy even at low levels of speed as you can hear when they drive through town. Preventing this is purely a police matter though and is not your elected councillors responsibility.

However, Wilmslow is not the only town blighted with this problem and the government is now trialling speed cameras fitted with microphones to automatically detect noisy vehicles and issue the driver with a fine.

Therefore, there may be a solution to this in the near future.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Oliver Romain
Monday 30th September 2019 at 1:48 pm
David you are quite right to say that this is a council issue.

I have pasted some text and a link from the CEC website below. Councillors would be well advised to read this before attempting to pass the buck.

With several recent serious accidents on the A34 (I can hear the noise too) it is time for CEC and the police to look at cameras and other enforcement measures. It is clearly being used as a race track.

Wilmslow Town Council also has a speed monitoring device that can record speeds to be shared with the police.

‘Speeding and traffic calming

We work with the police, communities and town and parish councils to manage traffic speeds in Cheshire East.’

https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways_and_roads/road-safety/speeding.aspx
Pete Taylor
Monday 30th September 2019 at 7:01 pm
"Wilmslow Town Council also has a speed monitoring device that can record speeds to be shared with the police."

If this records the front number plate of the vehicle, it will be useless. Many of the "super-cars" blighting our week-ends do not carry a front registration plate. The maximum fine for failing to display is £40, with no penalty points. Peanuts to these characters, in the unlikely event of them being prosecuted.

Time for average speed cameras, which record rear number plates, I think.
Oliver Romain
Monday 30th September 2019 at 7:42 pm
Pete the WTC device is for monitoring speeds not enforcement. It provides evidence that can be used to help decide on enforcement priorities. It’s about as far as a town council can go in terms of its remit. Cheshire East, on the other hand, has lots of power and influence should it’s councillors choose.
You don’t have to travel far to see 20 mile an hour speed limits on residential streets due to progressive council policies on safety and air pollution.
We could have the same here if councillors took the time to understand the issue and listen to residents rather than passing the buck.
David Smith
Monday 30th September 2019 at 9:41 pm
Reply to Mark Goldsmith:
""Continue to listen and promote your views to Council, making our area a better place to live."
These words are a direct quote form my councillor's 2019 'election manifesto' - or mailshot begging note - which might be similar to your 'begging note', I don't know. They are from MY councillor [Don Stockton] and even though I didn't vote for him I don't see why he should have a different view to making Wilmslow a "better place to live" than you. I would certainly put stopping boy racers pestering the locals with their noise and MAKING THE ROADS LESS SAFE by racing around a very laudable cause that would have the support of all Wilmslow residents no matter who they might think of voting for NEXT TIME!
Wilmslow Town Councillor Chetan Katre similarly espoused in his election manifesto of July 2017 - “I have a keen interest in road safety and will make this a top priority. I also want to improve Wilmslow as a place to live”. I have asked him several times to give me an idea of his plans and what he has achieved so far but not a peep of a reply.
Election manifestos are mostly just that - a cunning plan just to get people to give you their vote and then hope they will forget what they promised! Sometimes this isn’t the case.
Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 11:36 am
@ David: I am a Residents of Wilmslow councillor not a Conservative. Therefore, you will have to contact your Conservative councillors regarding their election manifesto promises.

Cheshire police though want evidence based data to support road speed reductions. Unfortunately, they don't act just because people complain of noise or think cars are going too fast. They want clear evidence of excess speeds and previous accidents in that area. We do collect this data and will support reductions when appropriate. However, it has to be evidence based and the data collected does not always match individuals perceptions of speed.

Currently, your RoW councillors are liaising with many local residents to get PCSO's to use their hand held speed cameras and for Cheshire Police's mobile speed cameras to be used on problem roads. We also ask Wilmslow Town Council to install their speed indication device to remind drivers to reduce speeds too. Therefore, we are already active in trying to reduce speed but accept there is always more to be done.


@ Cllr Oliver Romain, Lib Dem
The government issued a report in Nov 2108 that looked at the effect of 20mph zones in 12 UK cities over several years. It is the largest report ever undertaken on the effectiveness of 20mph zones and cost £1 million to produce. It concluded that:

"The changes resulting from 20mph limits are disappointing but not surprising. The study finds that signed-only 20mph limits have very small effects on speed and, surprisingly, no statistically significant effect on casualties in the majority of locations. Local people do not perceive changes and behaviour changes are small.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads

Unfortunately, the signs changed nothing. Drivers soon ignored them, it gave a false sense of safety to residents and serious accidents were actually marginally higher.

Therefore, Cllr Romain "the progressive councils" (I presume you mean Lib Dem ones) that introduced these zones just wasted significant amounts of rate payers money.

Perhaps in future, you may want to fully understand the issues before commenting.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Oliver Romain
Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 5:00 pm
Interested to see Mark backtracking again. I suppose credit is due that he has admitted that this is not ‘purely a police matter’. Many hundreds of residents know only too well that the A34 is being used as a race track because the screaming engines can be heard across large areas Wilmslow. You just have to live here to understand the issue and the likelihood that more fatalities will follow.
It doesn’t take much consideration to understand that ‘signage only 20mph limits’ with no enforcement make little difference. Of course they don’t.
What we do know is, speed kills and the difference between collisions at 40, 30 and 20mph is huge in terms of outcomes.
No surprise that Mark Goldsmith is angrily flailing around and is of course against any debate about the reduction in speed limits - he thinks he owns Wilmslow.
Ruth McNulty
Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 7:37 pm
Interestingly 'serious' accidents - and by this the definition is a life changing injury - are inversely proportional to speeds travelled. So the accepted mantra that 'speed kills' is a generalisation. What is probably true is that inappropriate speed kills
In round terms 75% of the defined serious accidents occur in urban areas, 20% on rural roads and only 5% on motorways. The proportion of accidents on rural roads has increased steadily which presumably accounts for the additional speed restrictions on out of town routes.
Contributors may also like to debate the statistic that pedestrians hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph have an 80% chance of survival whereas those struck by a car at 40mph have an 80% chance of death.
If we were all to drive around at 30mph (where possible and where this is the maximum speed limit) we would slow more reckless drivers behind us. The same principle applies to different limits.
Oliver Romain
Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 10:15 pm
Ruth: Thanks for contributing, I think most people understand the aim of the ‘speed kills’ mantra - however more importantly it is perhaps an insensitive phrase.
The other thing to consider is that 30 mph is not a target - it’s a limit.
We already have 20mph limits nearby in Wythenshawe, Poynton and Prestbury. There are also temporary 20mph limits near schools at drop off and collection times.
I believe that there are many roads in Wilmslow where residents and road users would benefit from reduced speed limits and/or introducing 20mph zones.
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 3:40 pm
Had to give my eyes a good rub after ploughing through all that. A complaint about overgrown, neglected and dangerous roundabouts (no mention of wrong camber etc.) and we get a suggestion that the bypass should have a 40MPH limit followed by a myopic suggestion about widely discredited 20MPH limits, argument destroyed by someone who did their research!!!
""Continue to listen and promote your views to Council, making our area a better place to live."
Whoever wrote that needs help. The area has only headed downwards since Pete's mob got their hands on Summerfields and the "farm" was bunged up. Little if anything has made it a better place to live since then.
Bill Bennett
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 4:18 pm
There are a number of reasons for the road noise on the A34, the surface is rough and greatly contributes to the noise. A lot of the noise would be removed if the tarmac was smooth. Motorbikes are some of the worst offenders. From the noise they make, the majority are using illegal exhausts. Then we have the boy racers. Its not unusual to see cars and motorbikes being driven well in excess of the speed limits.

Its time for Cheshire Police to spend some time there, particularly on the weekend, when Motorbikes are using the road as a race track.
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 6:59 pm
Well I personally feel it’s an appropriate image that reflects our local council. Wooden poles used to secure street signs, not even concreted in very cheap idea but I’m sure it won’t reflect in the invoice just wondering will there also be a bill for garden maintenance of the roundabout and it hasn’t happened. But when you consider the MP expenses scandal, vote to leave EU but we are still In and the fact that there is and has been a long standing issue with Cheshire East council. Just makes me feel that democracy of this country is falling and we are losing control or there is no control.
David Smith
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 7:04 pm
More food for thought - ALL IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY - so think before you formulate some excuse as to why it should be dismissed!
The following limits apply to motorcars and motorbikes.
MOTORWAYS: the speed limit on a motorway is 70mph. Motorways mostly have 3 lanes. Prohibited traffic on a motorway includes pushbikes, horses [with or without a cart], L-drivers [except with an approved instructor], motorbikes under 50cc, farm vehicles, mobility scooters and pedestrians. Those who don’t know will laugh when I say that when the M1 opened in 1959 motorists used to stop on the grass verge and have a picnic [perhaps before the services opened?]. There are no roundabouts, traffic lights or sharp curves.
THE A34 BYPASS: the speed limit is 70mph [a dual carriageway] and unless anyone can find out and prove me wrong - pushbikes, horses [with or without a cart], L-drivers [except with an approved instructor], motorbikes under 50cc,farm vehicles, mobility scooters and pedestrians are NOT prohibited! The A34 bypass has roundabouts at regular intervals, which means that traffic will regularly have to slow down from 70mph to sometimes zero mph whilst making their journey. There are traffic lights.
So the A34 bypass has the same speed limit as a motorway but with ALL the added dangers that are prohibited on a motorway - and all crammed into two lanes as well.
So where’s the logic in all that and how come nobody seems to think that 70mph on the A34 bypass is too fast for comfort - as well as for safety?
The A34 is attractive to these moronic boy racers because they can whiz past and cut up other motorists at close quarters. They can skilfully navigate the roundabouts that are beautifully spaced at regular intervals and allowing them to go down the gears with accompanying exhaust racket as though they are on some city race track. After all going fast on straight, flat road for miles, all on your own with nobody to scare or show off to is pretty boring after a while. Hence the appeal of our local road to these boy racers.
So who still thinks the A34 bypass should NOT be limited to 50mph or perhaps 40mph, as it will undoubtedly get busier soon when all the new housing estates churn out their cars onto the road?
Councils are allowed to set lower limits and I am sure that the police can have a say in how fast we can go - but yet again these two institutions that we rely on for sense on our roads both seem to be unable to do what many see as sensible.
What do you think now?
Apologies Alan for taking your letter in a different direction - I agree with you completely however.
James MacDonald
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 8:32 pm
Some of these roundabouts may not win any awards but I'd like to see the council prioritising cleaning the gutters as some roads are regularly flooded like Alderley Road and Styal Road. Also some basic cutting back of trees, shrubs, etc. along pavements would help pedestrian safety such as down Wilmslow Road.
Robert Bracegirdle
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 10:11 pm
What you really need is the excitement a night a few months ago when someone integrate left hand lane without indicating turned right across my bows. Just missed her.

I do agree though that the road is a racetrack. Even at the 50mph limit areas. Macclesfield Silk Road is the same.
Marcia McGrail
Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 10:34 am
Too many moronic drivers sharing pinch pockets of poorly designed geometry that should, if pedestrians had any rights, end in a vertical drop not a circle of unsightly vegetation.
Roundabouts are yet another misguided traffic calming/ directing measure that has outlived its sell by date.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 10:51 am
There seems to be some misconceptions about how our road speeds are set, so let me clarify it.

Cheshire East Council is part of the Cheshire Road Safety Group, which also includes our police and fire services. This group monitors our road speed limits and adjusts them based on Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines. Any speed limit changes it makes are based on all of the following criteria:

1. What is the function of the road? Is it designed to just move vehicles or is it in a residential area where quality of life is a bigger priority?

2. Casualty numbers? Is the number and/or severity of accidents higher than
expected? This data is provided by Cheshire Police.

3. Would a lower speed limit help encourage walking and/or cycling?

The A34 was designed to be a fast bypass of the town and I believe has an average rate of accidents. It has no pedestrians and rarely cyclists, so is extremely unlikely to ever meet the above criteria to become a 40mph zone.

In fact, such a low speed would likely cause far more serious problems as:
- A 40mph speed reduces the volume of traffic the A34 can move by -40%
- This would increase congestion on the A34 and push traffic onto side roads
- More side road traffic means more accidents on them with pedestrians & cyclists
- As pedestrians and cyclists are very vulnerable, it means more serious injuries and deaths

Therefore, a new speed limit on the A34 would have the completely opposite effect of reducing accidents. Yes, road noise might be a bit quieter, but it would come at an unacceptable cost of massive life-changing implications to others. Hopefully you can see why speed limit decisions MUST be made on evidence and not on public opinion or by politically motivated councillors.

Enforcing speeding and dangerous driving is purely a matter for Cheshire Police force though, who suggest you report it by calling 101 or by using the web site:
https://cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/roads-and-vehicle-safety/speeding/report

For more information on how Cheshire East acts to improve road safety in many different ways, please see:
https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways_and_roads/road-safety/road-safety.aspx

Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Gordon Hyslop
Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 9:07 pm
I think the Police should spend more time on crime, including the theft of, and from, motor vehicles that is blighting south Manchester criminals breaking into property to steal the keys leaving damage to property leaving people in fear. BTW In my experience people who drive slowly tend to be poor drivers without due awareness around them As the good councillor pointed out the road was designed for the national speed limit not to crawl along at 20mph
Patrick Prinsloo
Friday 4th October 2019 at 6:19 am
It would be nice if more roundabouts and fringes were left to go wild - great for insects and birds. Let's have a Wilding of Wilmslow movement. Less managed, trimmed, monoculture, please. Maybe a delight of butterflies will slow down the traffic.
Eric Butterworth
Wednesday 16th October 2019 at 4:45 pm
Inconsiderate drivers in high powered cars Do cause problems on the A34 by -pass , I’ve seen imbeciles undertaking people who were driving within the speed limit , overtaking and undertaking them dangerously . Most drivers observe the speed limit however , impatient drivers in their supercars , particularly at the weekend and on Bank Holidays seem to think that the road was built for them to use as a race track . The police should patrol this road more often especially in unmarked cars !

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