Have your say on plans for new 2.1km Wilmslow walking and cycling route

Cycleway in Crewe

Cheshire East Council is to press ahead with two key walking and cycling routes – to encourage people to leave their cars on the drive and get healthier.

One route will be created in Wilmslow with the other in the Leighton area of Crewe.

In Wilmslow, the new 2.1km route will link the railway station with the town centre, Wilmslow High School, the Royal London campus and Alderley Park. Construction could begin as early as the autumn.

Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council's cabinet member for highways and waste, said: "Our ambition is to improve walking and cycling facilities across the borough by investing in high-quality infrastructure to provide safe and attractive routes connecting local amenities and places of work.

"Our 2017 cycling strategy sets a target to double the number of people cycling at least once per week by 2027. If there is one upside from the pandemic, it is that more people have taken up cycling, either to commute to work or for leisure."

Council deputy leader Councillor Craig Browne said: "As a council we recognise that traffic congestion and parking provision are significant issues in Wilmslow. One of the ways in which we are seeking to address both is by managing demand for car journeys.

"Where possible, we want to encourage residents and businesses to choose alternative modes of travel and this scheme is one of the ways in which we can make it safer for them to do that."

The consultation on the proposed Wilmslow walking and cycling route scheme is open until 24 July. To take part visit the council's website.

The council has set a budget of £2.8m for both schemes and has £1.6m in grant funding confirmed from Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership. Developer contributions and funding from the council will be required to meet the balance.

Discussions are taking place with some landowners and the council is hopeful of acquiring all the land required without the need to compulsorily purchase. A community consultation is ongoing for the Wilmslow scheme, while the A530 scheme in Crewe has already received positive feedback from a consultation carried out in 2019.

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Comments

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

Tom Simcock
Tuesday 7th July 2020 at 3:27 pm
I think the walking and cycling track is a great idea but at the costs of 2.8m for only
1.30488 miles,
I think 2.8m would be better spent on the repairing potholes on our roads.
Lisa Reeves
Tuesday 7th July 2020 at 3:31 pm
Tom, to clarify as it states in the article "The council has set a budget of £2.8m for both schemes".
James MacDonald
Tuesday 7th July 2020 at 10:09 pm
Not a lot of ambition here. 2.1k is next to nothing.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 12:00 am
I'm wondering if the "new" administration at CEC might want to get their skates on? Fine words butter no parsnips. innit?
John Featherstone
Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 5:37 pm
£2.8 million for 2.1KM of cycling and walking track you must be mad the money would be better spent repairing the roads and filling pot holes for the motorists
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 6:35 pm
I am really disappointed that the cycle/walk way has not included Handforth. If it had then it would have been possible to use either on or off road cycle ways and some quieter roads to travel from Parrs Wood all the way to Alderley and then get on the cycle way running by the A34 to Alderley Park. This really is a missed opportunity.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 8:42 pm
Oh please! Don't get me going again! I am in my eighties & need a stick to walk. I take my life in my hands when I do, as I walk in the road facing oncoming traffic. Reason? The pavements in wilmslow are disgusting and a danger to walk on even for a fit person. They are laced with a medley of repairs, dig ups for fibre optics and repairs, as well as potholes. Get the picture? Hawthorn Lane is a perfect example. Use the money and fix the pavements. Theres more walkers than cyclopead crash hat lycra clad nerds. Instead make these bike people who think they now own the highway pay a road fund tax like every other road user with a vehicle.
Chris Stubbs
Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 11:32 pm
What is road fund tax? Road tax was abolished in 1937.... Vehicle excise duty is calculated on how polluting a car is and does not go to repairing roads or pavements it goes to the treasury. Cycling is non polluting so if you applied VED to bicycles they would pay nothing.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 2:43 am
2.1km is only the southern section of the scheme for Wilmslow. An additional northern section will also link Wilmslow with Handforth train station too. Consultation on this second part will be published later this month with the work for both sections due for completion before May 2021 at the latest.

The budget for both parts is around £750,000. However, the grant Cheshire East is getting for this must be spent on cycling and walking, so it cannot be diverted into other areas.

This consultation process now underway to find people’s views on the plans. Therefore, if enough people in Wilmslow object then I am sure Cheshire East will have no shortage of other towns who will happily want the money spent on them instead.

However, I am confident that the vast majority of Wilmslow’s residents will welcome this scheme and that after decades of seeing the town starved of funds by the Conservative controlled Cheshire East, they will be very pleased to see some of it is finally returning to our town.

Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley ward, Cheshire East & WTC
Maria Quin
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 6:27 am
I totally agree that fixing the atrocious amount of potholes we have should be number one priority. We have some of the worst road surfaces in the country with some of the highest Council Tax,
For the extortionate cost of producing cycle tracks - past and planned - may I respectfully suggest that it is made an offence for cyclist to ride on the road where a cycle track is available? Those who don’t are simply increasing the danger to other road users as well as their self indulgent selves. Don’t get me wrong - I love cyclist - they have beautiful bottoms. But some of them seem to keep their brains in there too! No offence intended.
Jon Williams
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 9:35 am
It would take an "Act of Parliament" to make it the law that cyclist have to use cycle lanes
Vince Chadwick
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 10:08 am
Maria, so glad you approve of cyclists' bottoms (maybe you haven't seen mine?). However, instead of patronising cyclists perhaps you'd like to get on a bike and try using the local cycle lanes. You'll find them full of puncture-inducing detritus, parked cars, broken-up surfaces no bicycle could safely negotiate, and signs telling you to get off your bike every few hundred yards. If they were fit for purpose, they'd get used.

You wouldn't know it from the behavior of a minority of motorists and the attitudes displayed by some posting here, but cyclists have as much legal right to use the road as does a car and probably have a taxed and insured and MOTed car sitting on their drive at home not causing traffic congestion or pollution. If you find yourself sitting in your car stuck in traffic, reflect on the fact that YOU are part of that traffic.
Randal MacRandal
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 10:39 am
I'm all in favour of any measure that takes cyclists off busy roads and onto their own tracks.
It's a pity that the foot/cycle path through the tunnels on the A538 Altrincham Road and up the hill to Morley (Green) is not continued at least as far as the Waters roundabout.
You take your life in your hands trying to walk round the bends from the Honey Bee to get past Waters. And if you're on a bike the traffic has to stay behind you through this section.

Surely Waters ought to have coughed up for such an extension to the path when they got their planning consent ? Doesn't National Trust own the land on the north side of Altrincham Road at this point ?
John Stewart
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 10:49 am
The biggest problem for pedestrians and cyclists is often the result of poorly repaired surfaces. Uneven footpaths and cycle routes are full of potholes that require constant avoiding actions. It is uncomfortable and dangerous.The elderley and infirm, the disabled and those with prams and children have to navigate irregular surfaces. Even Grove street is a mess. Have you seen how those in wheelchairs have to twist and weave in order to avoid collapsed gulleys and irregular paving? It is unacceptable.
The council make no attempt to manage or enforce a standard. In this way they allow their (our) assets to be degraded. In some cases, it is clear to see that repairs have been made properly - therefore asking the question, why not in others. The cost of rebuilding massively outways the cost of enforcing a standard. That extra cost wastes resources.
If a contractor repaired your own house in such a slap dash manner, I suspect trading standards would be alerted. But trading standards doesn't appear to put its own house in order. That is because it is someone elses money!
Wendy Falk
Thursday 9th July 2020 at 3:51 pm
@Randal MacRandal
There is a little-known, quieter route direct from Mobberley Road through to the cycle route on Altrincham Road which comes out past Waters. It is much safer and obviously quieter.
Turn left after the Texaco garage, as you cycle out of Wilmslow, then turn right towards the farm. This takes you along a quiet, country lane and comes out on Altrincham Road just where the cycle lane starts.
@Mark Goldsmith - Residents of Wilmslow
Thank you for your comments, mainly: "This consultation process now underway to find people’s views on the plans. Therefore, if enough people in Wilmslow object then I am sure Cheshire East will have no shortage of other towns who will happily want the money spent on them instead."
I'm sure we all want the funds spent in Wilmslow and, as a new cyclist I welcome town centre cycle lanes with open arms so I don't need to take the car. I'm certainly looking forward to having a beautiful bottom!!!!
James MacDonald
Friday 10th July 2020 at 6:16 am
Clive needs to keep up with legislation and understand that his comments are now classed as a hate crime and punishable by fines and / or a prison sentence.
Russell Young
Friday 10th July 2020 at 12:58 pm
VED is not the way forward for cyclists, insurance and identification is.

It is only right that they are subject to the rules applied to any other road user.

They should be treated equally.
Vince Chadwick
Friday 10th July 2020 at 2:33 pm
Number plates do not stop motorists from speeding, using their phones and texting when driving, running red lights, and the host of other road traffic offences we see every day. Try phoning the police and telling them you saw a car with such-and-such registration doing any of these things. They are busy, they will not be interested. The same would apply to bicycle registration plates.

But why should motorists be more closely regulated than cyclists? Why should children be allowed to cycle but not drive motor vehicles? Because motor vehicles are potential killing machines, bicycles are machines on which you can potentially get killed.

Cars have crumple zones, seat belts, air bags etc to protect the occupants in the event of an accident. Cyclists have none of this, nor the 'road presence' of a car so are only too aware of their vulnerability on the road. This leads to cyclists 'self policing'. Act like a d*ck in a car, you'll potentially kill someone. Act like a d*ck on a bicycle, there's a good chance you'll get yourself killed.

Some countries have introduced cycle registration schemes in the past (notably, not countries like Denmark and the Netherlands which have a strong cycling culture), but nearly all have since been dropped, like dog licencing in UK, as being uneconomic and ultimately, pointless. Would it be applied to child cyclists? To horse riders? To pedestrians? One thing compulsory bicycle registration would do is discourage people from cycling, which would be a bad thing for the environment and for personal health. Hopefully, in these more 'aware' times, that is not the direction we wish to go.
Peter Evans
Saturday 11th July 2020 at 9:51 am
I think the conversation has gone rather off subject! So, back to proposed scheme and a few thoughts. Primarily, my view is it is pretty uninspiring. The only useful bit is the bit along Alderley Rd.
The question to me is what is the aim? Is this to help people get to work from the station? Or is it to encourage people to use bikes more for recreational use?
If it is the former, then it seems aimed primarily at people who work at Royal London and come to work by train. So, I guess the hope is that once RL moves to Alderley Park they will use their bikes to get to AP, instead of their cars. I suppose that is a mildly interesting little muse?
Or, if it's to encourage recreational use, then I think the idea lacks ambition - essentially all it does is provide the new section on Alderley Rd, which I accept is good. So, how about improving access to the top end of Alderley Rd to more Wilmslow residents?
Russell Young
Saturday 11th July 2020 at 12:39 pm
Vince Chadwick, sorry about that, I completely forgot that no cyclist every contravenes traffic law, or acts in a dangerous manner towards any road user or pedestrian and are exempt from scrutiny and prosecution and should be treated as 'special' at all times. I'll try and remember that the next time one uses the pavement or jumps a red light. My wait shouldn't be too long to test it. Quite clearly, everyone is equal, except some are just that little more equal than others. Perhaps, this money should be re-invested into the public transport network (something everybody can use) which has declined so dramatically on CEC's watch.
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 11th July 2020 at 2:02 pm
Russell Young - I don't believe your statement that "no cyclist every (sic) contravenes traffic law" etc. is correct. Happy to be proved wrong on that though.

However, your wait may be longer to see a cyclist jump a red light than to see a car exceed the speed limit. And I need hardly point out (as I implied in my post) that a cyclist jumping a red light may well pay for it with his / her life, while a speeding motorist might take a life (even small increases in speed significantly extend stopping distances).

I do agree, however, that public transport in UK is woefully underfunded (outside London).
Maria Quin
Monday 13th July 2020 at 11:43 pm
Vince Chadwick - I don’t feel I patronised cyclists in my comment - nor did I mention or infer they cause traffic problems! The nuts of my point is that I see little use in spending extortionate amounts of council/residents money on more cycle tracks when the ones we already have are hardly used - for whatever reason. Plus - despite the poor state of the tracks (which sounds sadly too similar to our actual roads) - it must surely be more dangerous to cycle on the latter?
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 14th July 2020 at 10:12 am
It isn't just the poor state of the cycle tracks that's the problem, it's also their 'not fit for purpose' design. A white line painted on the road with 'dismount' signs at regular intervals doesn't cut it for all the reasons I have already stated, but it's cheap and it no doubt ticks some box on the council's environmental 'to do' list.

I agree there is no point perpetrating such nonsense, but there is much merit for the environment and personal health in instigating segregated and properly maintained cycle tracks.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 15th July 2020 at 12:35 pm
I agree entirely with Vince Chadwick that the "construction" of white line cycle ways is a waste of time in terms of providing safe space for cyclists. They use the part of the road thats generally the most degraded, full of sunken grids and drains as well as road debris - including glass and very often blocked by parked cars.

The answer is significant investment in segregated cycle ways where bikes and vehicles don't meet. It's a huge up-front cost but it will be paid back many times over in health and environmental benefit

The model for this is Holland where, for many years, no road has been built without a parallel, separated cycle path. No coincidence that the Dutch are one of the healthiest nations in Europe and suffer the least amount of traffic congestion in their towns and villages.

In my view the proposed scheme has a serious flaw in that it doesn't properly connect Alderley Edge village and thereby excludes (among others) hundreds of school children from the benefits of cycling to school - with the consequent reduction in school-run traffic and effects on parking.
Jo Jeffers
Monday 20th July 2020 at 9:39 pm
As someone who walks and cycles I think any addition is positive, in particular the element from Wilmslow train station through to Alderley Edge.

The section that is to Alderley park feels more singular and less useful at a broader town level and would not be my choice - but good to hear re. wilmslow to handforth.

I think most peoples points here are that there are different areas worth investment to improve walking and cycling in wilmslow; the general state of the roads as mentioned but also cliff road is very dangerous and if this budget is to aid walking, then it could be used to make that less dangerous.

I found Mark Gs info useful but I wasnt sure what was meant by this comment? .... 'This consultation process now underway to find people’s views on the plans. Therefore, if enough people in Wilmslow object then I am sure Cheshire East will have no shortage of other towns who will happily want the money spent on them instead' .... it is written to infer people are being ungrateful? That to have an opinion different to the proposed plan is not cool?

Anyways my thoughts is its a nice plan but i think there are more urgent areas in this town where we know there is an issue that require being made safe more than a link to a business park where there is no real evidence it will be used.

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