Council approves new £600m highways contract

Highways Work

Following a tendering process, Cheshire East Council has awarded a new contract to manage its highways service across the borough.

The new £600m contact to deliver highways services for up to15 years has gone to Ringway Jacobs, who has been responsible for the council's highways services since 2011.

Ringway Jacobs will continue to be responsible for the management of the borough's 1,677 miles of roads, 1,100 miles of footways and 372 miles of cycleways, together with assets that include bridges, street lighting, drainage and signage – assets valued at £5bn.

Councillor Glen Williams, deputy cabinet member for environment, said: "This new contract with Ringway Jacobs will better meet the needs of our residents and road users, whether it is gritting in the winter months or road repairs and resurfacing work during the better weather.

"We have an extensive urban and rural road network and the demands on our service are understandably severe at times.

"I am confident that this new contract will ensure we continue to deliver the highest possible standard of service throughout Cheshire East and deliver value for money for our residents and businesses."

Mike O'Neill, managing director of Ringway Jacobs, said: "We are delighted to be chosen to continue as Cheshire East Council's partner for highways services. We look forward to building on our current relationship to deliver the very best outcomes for the residents and businesses in Cheshire East."

Cheshire East Council


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

Roger Bagguley
Monday 3rd September 2018 at 6:26 pm
"I am confident that this new contract will ensure we will continue to deliver the higheat possible standard throughout Cheshire East ----- "

Not sure if I were a Conservative Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment I would want to be claiming a continuation of the highest standards given our pothole infested roads and local elections due next May. Think we need new Independent Councillors who have a better understanding of high standards and insist they are met without delay.
Nick Jones
Monday 3rd September 2018 at 7:39 pm
... and then add just a little bit of Carillion to this lengthy contract and .......
Rick Andrews
Monday 3rd September 2018 at 8:02 pm
Any chance they might clear all the overgrown footpaths! Looks like they have accepted responsibility with all the money. We should insist they deliver.
Jon Williams
Monday 3rd September 2018 at 9:20 pm
And Ringway Jacobs contracting the work out to a third party (or 4th).
Pete Taylor
Monday 3rd September 2018 at 9:24 pm
A convenient opportunity for the current Cabinet Member to step aside; after all this is Party Politics. Sorry but Thatcher wrote the rules, some while back. Local “politicians” were only too ready to jump on that train to where we are now.
Time to get Independents into local Councils?
Terry Roeves
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 1:30 pm
Having driven to and from Chatsworth on Sunday, it’s remarkable how good Derbyshire roads are. Pothole free, including minor roads, no sunken drains, verges cut and pavements clean.
Buxton and Bakewell are excellent examples.
CEC really have and continue to let us down. Time to go.
Janet A Taylor
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 6:26 pm
Totally agree!
At the moment we are touring France and the standard of roads is incomparable with the UK !
Travelled from Cherbourg to Ile de Re this week and no road works or potholes !
The French are well looked after in so many ways ! We have seen fabulous new libraries built, new schools and high standard of health care .
Really puts us Brits to shame .
Ruth McNulty
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 8:10 pm
France doesn't have the winter weather that devastates tarmacadamed roads in the UK. In addition they have a substantial network of motorway toll roads to generate additional income for road maintenance and on top of that there is a top rate of income tax of 80%, which led to a substantial exodus of Parisians leaving Paris for London after Francois Hollande's election.
President Macron is attempting to unravel an economy of high tax and high spending that has left the French economy stagnating but he faces an uphill struggle.
The French electorate has a choice but the conclusion of this very recent economic model suggests that a high tax and high spend solution - from Hollande - damages the national economy that far outweighs the benefit of the extra tax money generated to produce pothole free roads.
Nick Jones
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 9:29 pm
French weather lot more severe than UK .. hotter in the south colder in the Alps.... Funny all that snow... and clear roads in good order !! never any issues when ive been skiing ... Macron might have a struggle but so do those elected here in CEC to represent residents and have put party politics and their own subsistence in front of residents needs and requirements... From Lyme Green Adlington never build on these field Road, No Housing at Royal London... and the plethora of other well documented failures in these pages... Road repairs were outsourced and so was responsibility. Time for change
Janet A Taylor
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 6:38 am
Sadly, austerity has made us the poor man of Europe. Our roads are not upto the same standard as other Western European countries. Councils have been squeezed financially resulting in huge cuts to services leading to them granting planning permission for house building on an epic scale so they can recoup lost income through council tax raised by these new homes(lots on former protected green belt!). Our roads are already congested , I dread to think what the future holds.
Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 9:10 am
Whilst holidaying in North Wales last summer I noted how good the road surfaces were whether at sea level or in the mountains. Didn't come across any toll roads.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 1:45 pm
The roads in Wales are good and it would be best if the English use them as much as possible, after all we paid for them with grant monies to the devolved Welsh administration.
On the political point of ‘austerity’ it is worth remembering that Gordon Brown spent all the money inherited by the Conservatives and then borrowed like the drunken sailor to leave a huge debt.
Within Cheshire East the house numbers in the Local Plan were determined by the Planning Inspector thus rendering faulty any partisan non-logic.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 7:02 pm
Rod/Ruth, clearly you’re switched on to this pressing issue, over your joint dinner table. However, you are (how can I put this politely) ... um... yesterday’s Councillors.
Please could you suggest how the electorate might ask questions of the nominated Conservative CEC candidate? Unfortunately, his name escapes me but I’m informed that he is a famous actor.
If you could supply any social media addresses for him, it would be most appreciated.
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 7:03 pm
My personal experience is registering a safety fault twice with a road sign (filthy and dangerously unseeable at night) and tone told each time it had been done - it still hasn’t ten months later. Are this lot responsible?
Marilyn and Brian Connolly
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 8:17 pm
Last week, notices went up at each end of Morley Green Road stating that the road would be closed for two days on 3rd and 4th of September. It is now the 5th, the notices are still there and nothing has happened, so when can we expect some action I wonder??
Lisa Reeves
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 8:40 pm
I received a notice today saying that Morley Green Road will be closed from Friday 14th September to Tuesday 18th September 2018 to enable Cheshire East Highways to carry out 'Grip Fibre'.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 9:05 pm
If I may be so familiar as to use your first name.
You seem to have strayed to a rather personal comment as opposed to addressing the factual points. Why do you feel the need to do this. Radio 4 this morning had a very interesting programme on this very topic.
Why not enjoy your camper van holiday together and enjoy the good things in life that France has to offer.
Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 9:21 pm
With respect it is not the job of a Government Planning Inspector to fix the number of houses to be built in a Local Plan or to decide which sites should be taken out of the Green Belt to accommodate this number. Mr Pratt advised CEC 400 houses in the first round MAY NOT be sufficient for Wilmslow. Cheshire East, supported by our local Ward Councillors, upped the number to 900, an increase of 125%, the biggest increase in the Borough. Mr Pratt subsequently approved the Plan. Who knows, he may have approved less and may have accepted a bigger contribution from windfall coming from brown sites. Thus saving Green Belt land. We will never know. When it came to the vote our Conservative Councillors all approved the figures produced by their officers.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 6:19 am
Cllr Menlove, I will indeed get on with my French travels; it is nice not having to survey the road ahead for potholes; the new Departmental roads are superb.

Incidentally, we have seen very few new houses being built, it really is noticeable that France is not covering fields with houses but is covering them with ugly out of town shopping sheds. C’est la vie.
Rod Menlove
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 9:27 am
When the Planning Inspector says that the total number of dwellings proposed is too low and the numbers in the north are too low and offers guidance to follow for resubmissions then net effective he is saying what he will find acceptable.
On windfall he received submissions, including from me, and in open session queried why they were not taken into account. His decision in the report was not to include windfall in the numbers.
Nick Jones
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 11:44 am
£600m contract for 15yrs..Good effort ! pushed my shares price up. But from 2011 the state of our local road surfaces has been poor, well documented on these pages. Rutted, torn and ripped at many locations; Adlington Rd/ Macclesfield Rd particularly bad for cyclists/ motorcyclists and 4 wheeled vehicles alike. But let’s not let a contractual obligation get in the way of a good profit. The roads problem gets worse with Green belt erosion and imposition of CEC’s flawed Local Plan and Non-compliance to Govt planning policy ignoring the ‘exceptional circumstance’ criteria, ignoring Brownfield development, Local Plan public engagement demonstrably dismissed. In Spring The PM reaffirmed a Conservative commitment to protect green belt, Yet it appears our Lyme Green Cllr and others @ CEC demonstrate a contrary position. Who was it that said "I have worked closely with the town council over the years to counter threats to the local Green Belt " ( Apparently not ! voting many times to build on green belt. Please explain ) "I have publicly opposed any housing on the Royal London site ( Apparently not , nodding this trough as well!. Please explain ) …” Lyme Green [building on brownfield site without permission]; “..caused the reputation of the council to be called into question I cannot though, in all conscience, ignore the fact this situation arose on my watch ..” ( Apparently So ! Please explain )..Residents cant make a full judgment as the report remains concealed, despite the overt £45k payout to Janet Clowes who was recommended for dismissal. Please explain ? How much has the Lyme Green debacle cost our taxpayers ? Please explain ? Volunteer a full and frank disclosure. Guidance is Guidance, Statute is Statute, and duplicitous conduct deters voters. Perhaps the 'Nemesis casting' thespian nominee Harry Westbill (whoever) replacing the deselected Lyme Green Cllr can walk the boards and explain .. To be or not to be .. That is the question
Alan Brough
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 3:59 pm
Cllr Menlove,

Above you say...

" When the Planning Inspector says that the total number of dwellings proposed is too low and the numbers in the north are too low and offers guidance to follow for resubmissions then net effective he is saying what he will find acceptable.
On windfall he received submissions, including from me, and in open session queried why they were not taken into account. His decision in the report was not to include windfall in the numbers."

Please forgive me because, even having read the above three times, I don't understand it.

Can you assist me by answering the following simple questions:

1) Why do we need more houses in Cheshire East?
2) Is it likely that there will be a catastrophic fall in property prices due to wanton oversupply?
3) What investment is planned in building local schools / hospitals / roads / car parks etc to support the development.
4) The condition of CE roads has never been worse in living memory - Is it prudent therefore to award a contract of this nature to the company that has been responsible for this failure over the past 7 years?

I look forward to, and thank you in anticipation of your response.
David Jefferay
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 8:39 pm
With regards to question 1, Cheshire East produced masses of information which showed 36000 houses needed to be built across the borough (most of the evidence was questionable and there were groups like Residents of wilmslow and, to be fair, some parish and town councils saying it was too high and there were developers saying it was too low but the inspector bought it). He did question though whether there was enough of it in the north of the borough. Cheshire East therefore redistributed it so the towns in the north took their fair share whether they need them or not. Wilmslow was allocated 900. I have seen no assessment of Wilmslow's need or justification of the 900 (just a justification of the selection of the distribution option which resulted in it)
Roger Bagguley
Friday 7th September 2018 at 9:38 am
As I remember the outcome of the discussion in open session resulted in CEC putting 120 houses in the Plan as being the possible windfall contribution across the whole of the Borough to 2030. The CEC brownfield site audit submitted to inform the Plan told us only 12 houses are possible on brown sites in Wilmslow. Nonsense. Throughout the process there was a blatant disregard for windfall on brown sites, the emphasis being on securing 36,000 houses, 900 for Wilmslow causing loss of Green Belt. With well over 1000 houses committed to Wilmslow to date, and many more waiting approval as registered applcations, the fact is the Plan, owned by CEC and approved by the Goverment Inspector, has destroyed more Green Belt than was needed. This is why so many people, me included, are so angry and will forever blame those councillors from the ruling party who in the final instant put up their hands to approve the Plan.

Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Pete Taylor
Friday 7th September 2018 at 2:32 pm
And Roger, don’t forget that they voted against an amendment which would have taken the Wilmslow Green Belt out of the Local Plan. It’s no wonder most of them dare not comment on this forum.
Shame on them.
David Jefferay
Friday 7th September 2018 at 3:25 pm
What really annoyed me about that vote was the voting pattern. I was there and saw that, almost without exception, all the Conservatives voted to approve the plan. It is inconceivable to me that they all believed in it (especially those in Wilmslow whose wards will definitely be damaged as a result). That can only mean they voted to support the party/leadership rather than acting in the best interests of their residents and voters who they are supposed to represent. To me it was disgusting.
Furthermore, because there were so few dissenting Tories, it leads me to believe that replacing one for another in May will just result in more of the same.
Roger Bagguley
Friday 7th September 2018 at 4:37 pm
Indeed Pete. Think it was Councillor Toni Fox, Independent, Dean RoW, who moved this amendment. Think too this was a named vote, important record to have handy next April/May on the doorstep.
Manuel Golding
Thursday 27th September 2018 at 4:07 pm
Do you mean Cllr Toni Fox (Wilmslow Dean Row) Residents of Wilmslow (RoW), independent councillor?
I believe the amendment referred to above re the Royal London Green Belt sites, was not moved by Cllr Fox but by two (2) other Wilmslow Conservative councillors.
The amendment was defeated thanks in the main to the majority & controlling party, the Conservatives.
However, having advocated an amendment for the RL sites, the two councillors in question did their expected and dutiful duty for the Conservative Party, both executing a volte-face by voting for the proposed Local Plan's development sites which bizarrely included both the Royal London sites.
Seeing is believing, dear voter. Day of Judgement is next May, 2019.