New walking and cycling scheme for Hawthorn Lane


Cheshire East Council has revealed its first active travel projects as part of plans to support the borough through recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nine new schemes will come into effect this month as a first phase to improve routes to schools and workplaces, boost social distancing, encourage walking and cycling and improve access our town centres.

Amongst these are Hawthorn Lane in Wilmslow where through traffic will be restricted to cyclists and pedestrians.

The other eight active travel schemes, totalling investment of £155,000, will be located at:

● Coronation Street, Crewe, near Sir William Stanier School – 20mph zone and through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians;

● Crewe town centre – improved access for cycles;

● Congleton town centre – improved access for cycles;

● Macclesfield town centre – improved access for cycles;

● Ivy Road, Macclesfield – through traffic restricted to buses, cyclists and pedestrians;

● Old Middlewich Road, Sandbach – 20mph zone and parking suspension;

● Ladies Mile, Knutsford – through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians; and

● Lodge Road, Alsager – through traffic restricted to cyclists and pedestrians.

Additional schemes will be developed in further phases, following pledged government funding of up to £619,000.

The move follows recent submissions by town and parish councils and local members of more than 500 local ideas as to what measures may work in their towns and villages.

Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste, said: "This is exciting news and the part of steps by this council to promote social distancing and encourage more people to get active and cycle and walk more.

"I would like again to thank everyone who has worked with us so quickly to get active travel ideas and proposals up and running so swiftly in our towns and villages.

"We know people's travel behaviour has changed during the lockdown – and we are determined to lock in the benefits of more people walking and cycling to make our town centres safer, healthier and more welcoming to shoppers and visitors.

"We have seen an increase in more people walking and cycling in our borough and as more people turn to these active ways of travel, we need to work together to provide safe spaces for people to carry out these journeys.

"These initial projects are, by their very nature and the short timescales involved, an experiment. We will continue to work with the town and parish councils to develop, review and refine these measures and others, as appropriate, before anything becomes permanent.

"Our aim is to deliver schemes that are right for each town and developed in partnership with each local area and local members."

Councillor Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council's walking and cycling champion, said: "Ditching the car and taking up daily active travel is good for your health, good for the environment and good for promoting social distancing to combat Covid-19. Creating a safe environment will encourage people out of their cars and be more active.

"It also helps make our town centres safer and more attractive places to visit, spend time and spend money.

"There has never been a better time to walk or cycle – especially shorter journeys included as part of our daily activity – and this really helps to forge greener habits, to reduce congestion, improve air quality and help fight climate change.

"Being bold in these measures may attract additional funding from government and we welcome feedback both positive and negative on the measures being proposed."

The council aims to develop a series of projects, informed by discussions with town and parish councils and ward members, that will be delivered in coming weeks, including:

● Pop-up cycle lanes, with protected spaces for cycling;

● Measures to reduce rat-running in streets;

● Improved walking and cycling routes to school;

● Safer junctions, with the potential for bus and cycle-only corridors;

● Implementing lower speed limits; and

● Wider pavements, which also enables social distancing.

Schemes being considered as part of the second phase of active travel improvements to be constructed in the Autumn, subject to the Council receiving DfT funding include:

● Manchester Road between Wilmslow and Handforth;

● London Road between Alderley Edge and Wilmslow;

Detailed plans for active travel measures can be found online.

Cycling, Hawthorn Lane


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

Kathryn Blackburn
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 3:28 pm
What !!!!! How ???? is Hawthorne Lane going to be adapted.
Likewise London Road from Wilmslow to Alderley Edge. Chaos.
Paul Millett
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 3:39 pm
Barking mad
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 3:47 pm
Instead of new cycle lanes why O why not repair some of the roads in Wilmslow and surrounding areas. Perhaps start at Waitrose. Driving up to park your car is a disgrace.
Mike Jones
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 4:05 pm
Don’t residents get to challenge or discuss this? I’m all for preventing rat-running down Kennerley’s Lane and Broad Walk/Gorsey Road, but this means that any resident from Pownall Park wishing to head to Waitrose or the A34 will be forced onto Altrincham Road & Water Lane, increasing the already chronic traffic in the town centre.
David Pearce
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 4:13 pm
At least on one level this could be regarded as a welcome move to end the rush hour rat run reputation for this cut through especially from Altrincham Road/Water Lane - weekdays around late afternoon time.
Mark Russell
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 4:21 pm
So where do we go when the council don’t fix the lights? Oh, like now! This is utter madness. As if there wasn’t enough grid lock already they are now pushing every vehicle through the water lane junction. And how many cycles are they expecting in November? This can not be allowed to happen. It’s our roads not the councils. They work for us!!!
Mark Russell
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 5:12 pm
And guess what?!?! One of our esteemed local councillors lives by this road, and I’m sure he would benefit from less cars running down there. I think he needs to advise us what input he has had in this decision.
Andrew Backhouse
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 5:26 pm
I hope that people will see the increase in cycling and walking like we did during lockdown when this work is done on Hawthorn Lane. We need to make Wilmslow much safer for cyclists and walkers if we are to help the government cut down CO2 emissions, cutting out rat runs, and trying to encourage motorists to leave the cars at home. How many of us use the car for that 'nipping to the shops' when it is not good for us or our planet? One of the nice things about Hawthorn Lane is it is a lot leveller than many other routes in Wilmslow, so easier for older cyclists, and the pleasantness of the trees and less cars would make it even better for walkers.
Jo Jeffers
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 7:14 pm
Absolutely not the best choice or use of money - to deliver on the initiatives improving cliff road would have been a great shout or towards Handforth. This is clearly not a singular view but one echoed by all the comments.
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 8:02 pm
Brought to us by the labour Cllr proposing 4 ‘free’ days parking, with so many strings and limitations that it will never happen.
Again has she ever visited Wilmslow?
Helen Battilana
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 8:10 pm
Despite being an enthusiastic local cyclist and frequent pedestrian, I do not think that this proposal for Hawthorne Lane is a good one. I expect it to create much greater traffic congestion at the junction of Kennerley's Lane & Water Lane, which is already a dangerous place to cross the road, and there won't even be a pedestrian crossing to help.
Catherine Dixon
Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 8:46 pm
Why has there been no consultation on this? As others have said, it will increase traffic on Kennerleys Lane, Altrincham Road and Alderley Road, causing delays and semi-stationery traffic at peak times with increased emissions, which surely makes this a nonsense on environmental grounds? Where is the evidence base?
Nick Jones
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 5:50 am
Absolute nonsense... Do it where its needed ... not here !
I trust the relevant Cllrs are active here to prevent this location being used for
a generally sensible plan elsewhere in the town that would assist pedestrian/ cyclist traffic to shops and schools .. But not here !
Listen to the residents ! Concur with comments above where was the consultation ? (Probably the same consultation that didn't occur when an 'ex [Lyme Green] Cllr' daubed unwanted yellow lines all over the town with equally poorly conceived random spending of our tax dollars.... Come on we can do better than this !
Julian Barlow
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 8:23 am
We do already have cycle lanes criss-crossing the town but, unsurprisingly, they've been totally neglected by CEC and have crumbled into obscurity. Surely the definition of sustainability is to maintain and take care of what we already have, not neglect it and move on to something else.
Brian Fox
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 9:23 am
What wonderful news.

Hawthorn Lane has long been used as a rat run by motorists who frequently drive on the pavements, which are far too narrow and uneven, making it dangerous and inconvenient unless in a car. It's entirely unsuitable as a through route.

A very welcome step towards making the town welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.
Jon Williams
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 9:59 am
Well said Brian
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 10:43 am
Thank you, Lisa, for posting this. The link to "Detailed plans" doesn't go anywhere useful yet, but there's an option to register for more information which will hopefully be provided in due course.

It seems to me that anything like this is going to be annoying for a subset of people, and it's a road I have occasionally used myself when driving, but it's not a significant hardship to divert around. The pavements are uncomfortably narrow and cars incompetently drive over them on occasions, as others have mentioned already. Walking along the road will be much improved with this change, and I welcome it.
Pippa Jones
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 11:56 am
I welcome it too and look forward to being able to walk and cycle more safely in and around town.
Rick Andrews
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 3:13 pm
We need to see the detail, but it sounds like a very good idea. For too long Hawthorn Lane has been a rush hour nightmare. This is a positive move to encourage less car use. And, I am sure that there will also be a general reduction in cars coming to offices in Wilmslow as many people and companies have seen the benefits of working from home, but still many passing through to the airport and M56 using this route as a shortcut.
How many of the objectors actually live on Hawthorn Lane and Pownall Park and Have experienced the inconsiderate commuter rat runners and the queues from Kennerleys Lane to Bank Square every afternoon? Yes, there may be increased traffic and queues on Water Lane - I would argue that it is better to have atmospheric pollution in that commercial area rather than the residential area of Hawthorn Lane.

It’s a good plan.
John Featherstone
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 3:25 pm
the balm pots are at it again ROADS are for driving on!! not walking, bikes pay no road fund licence, no mot, and no insurance , no such thing as a rat run just a road that all legal motorists can use, bunch of tree huggers, get real
Alan Slater
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 4:05 pm
Some interesting comments, there, but wouldn't it be better to vent your spleen when you know what is proposed?

Royal Mail will require full access as will the houses in Hawthorn Grove.

I walk along Hawthorn Lane every week and I just don't accept the comments about narrow pavements and dangerous parking on them.
Rick Andrews
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 4:14 pm
OK let’s get real. Actually there is a dictionary definition of a rat run - a small road that is used by a lot of drivers who are trying to avoid traffic on larger roads.

Some of the people commenting can, perhaps, be considered as not seeing the bigger picture. It’s not just about cars.

Let’s ask these people where they live - are they affected by the traffic ?
Vince Chadwick
Thursday 6th August 2020 at 6:02 pm
Oh, for heaven's sake John Featherstone, roads are for ALL of us to use! Pedestrians, Bicycles, horses, traction engines, motor vehicles - ALL of us! You sound like a real 'Mr Toad'. I think it's you who needs to 'get real'.

And road tax was abandoned in 1937 as has been mentioned before on here probably a few times. These days it's equivalent is Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), a tax on pollution produced by the vehicle. Which means cyclists would be zero-rated.

Do try to keep up!
Birgitta Hoffmann
Friday 7th August 2020 at 11:33 am
Very disappointed with this.

The detailed plan that comes into force next week can be found here:

It will turn the area west of Carrwood Road into a 20mph zone and block the road on BROADWALK just below the junction with Carrwood Road.
As such it will NOT STOP the rush hour rat run down Hawthorne Lane and Kennerleys Lane, which will now be even more increased.

Because of this, it will make this useless as a cycle route, as between the parked cars and the rat run traffic, you would continue to take your life in your hand cycling in the middle part of Hawthorne Lane (as any of the residents who actually life in the area could have told Cheshire East, if they really had bothered to consult with the residents or visit the area).

It will instead force everybody in Pownall Park who needs to get into the Station or into town or the A34 to add even further to the traffic on Water Lane Alderley Road and Hawthorne Street/Buckingham Road and create even longrer tail backs when turning into and out off the junction at Gorsey Road, which is a prime walking area for the students of Gorsey Bank School.

Somebody really had his thinking cap on, when they dreamed this one up.

Yours sincerely from somebody who has been trying for 15 years to safely cycle on Hawthorne Lane on a weekday and given up.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 7th August 2020 at 1:32 pm
Dear all

Just to clarify the situation:

- These are temporary measures. They have been brought in because of Covid-19 emergency powers, so they are not permanent. Any permanent measures will be fully consulted with residents as the law dictates. However, legal consultation takes 3-6 months and with 500 similar emergency schemes across Cheshire East it is just not possible to do this. Wilmslow Town Council was involved in providing the initial recommendations though, so they have not just been plonked on us by Cheshire East.

- Hawthorn Lane will be closed by the post office near Green Lane. This is to allow more al-fresco dining for the restaurants there. I doubt many people will want to eat or drink outside on a cold and wet November evening, so this seems likely to be a temporary measure.

- The road will also be closed at Broad Walk near Carrwood Road. This stops Hawthorne Lane and Kennerleys Lane from being a rat run and returns it to being a residential area. West of this, it becomes a 20mph zone ready for when the schools return. Therefore residents living in this area will not be able to access Wilmslow down Hawthorn Lane, but it should make the whole area much quieter as the through traffic is eliminated.

- These changes will be monitored and amended if needs be. There was criticism when the town centre reopened in June because the disabled car parking spaces at the back of Starbucks were removed. However, a week or so later they were back in action, so things are not set in stone and can change quickly.

- The original press release mentions further measures for Wilmslow but these are the improved cycle lanes and walking paths that were announced last month. Consultation for the south section is already underway and the northern section is due to start consultation this month. Therefore, it won’t involve any road closures, car drivers won’t notice much difference but it will make it much safer and better for cyclists going between Handforth and Alderley Edge.

Overall, we are trying to get a balance of helping the town centre economy, encouraging more activity, tackling the residential traffic issues and keeping people safe. Inevitably, this will benefit some and impact on others but the current situation needs quick action.

However, we will monitor the changes and if the benefits are not delivered or the impact gets too great, then we can easily remove them and revert back to the existing system.

Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Rick Andrews
Friday 7th August 2020 at 2:21 pm
The scheme makes a lot of sense. 20mph limit long overdue, but how will it be enforced. The road closure is effectively the same as when the road was closed for drain repairs several months ago - I don’t recall that created any major problems with traffic. As for access to Waitrose, do people from each household drive there everyday? If so, why?
Margaret Gray
Friday 7th August 2020 at 2:43 pm
As a resident of Pownall Park, so much for the environment, which will now require me to travel almost twice as far to get to town or the station. The speed limit is a positive move. However consultation with the wishes of residents would have been a valuable consideration rather then this being imposed. I have tried in vain to get all day parking resolved in our area, surely that could have been imposed just like this!! Please think again
Mark Russell
Friday 7th August 2020 at 7:01 pm
Gary Weir
Saturday 8th August 2020 at 10:26 am
Great news. A step in the right direction to encourage people to drive less and cycle/walk more which should also help alleviate the town’s parking problems.
David Smith
Sunday 9th August 2020 at 9:20 am
Dear Mark Goldsmith.
Just to point out the lack of clarity in your clarification of the situation!

•The map that ‘explains it all’ and can be seen at the link pointed out by Birgitta Hofmann - and which I reproduce again [so click on it everyone to see what we are talking about] - quite clearly to me shows why this plan will not work.
•But firstly the poor presentation of the map. The caption pointing towards the RED SPOT has a picture that certainly isn’t from the point in Wilmslow by the red spot and looks like somewhere in Stockport perhaps or Crewe? The caption says “Road closure except for cycles east of Carrood Road” has spelled Carrwood Road incorrectly.
•The map although dated “Crown Copyright and database right 2020” still shows the Post Office [PO] before it moved to Tesco’s in Green Lane. It is still the Royal Mail - RM - which isn’t a PO.
•OK perhaps picking on some minor points but whoever did the map could have been a bit more observant in the accuracy of presentation.
•Most pertinent however is the fact [to me at least] that this proposal will not make a vast difference to the ‘rat-running’ because I am pretty sure that many of the ‘rats’ take the run from Altrincham Road down Kennerley’s Lane then right into Hawthorn Lane in order to miss the town centre by the Rex. Rats running in the other direction might take Broadwalk to exit further down onto Altrincham road. The red spot should be on Hawthorn Lane but to stop the rats turning right from Kennerley’s Lane into Hawthorn Lane.
•You say, “Hawthorn Lane will be closed by the post office near Green Lane” which doesn’t make sense! The PO is on Green Lane but where Hawthorn Lane ends [at the junction with Green Lane] it is nowhere near the PO. So how can Hawthorn Lane be closed where it is near the PO? What do you mean? Are you saying that the road closure will be all along Hawthorn Lane then down Green Lane as far as the PO and so closing off another run for the rats? If so what about the bus stops - where will buses go?
•“This is to allow more al-fresco dining for the restaurants there”. Exactly who are these restaurants [names please in your reply Councillor Goldsmith] that will want to fill an empty road with seating for diners as cyclist pass by and how many more seats do they want anyway? As an aside, this trend towards continental sitting on a pavement seems to be a fad that took off years ago and has been further popularised just so smokers can add their own pollution intake to that from the passing traffic. Al fresco I believe is borrowed from Italian for "in the cool [air]" although it is not in current use in that language to refer to dining outside. Instead, Italians use the phrases fuori ("outside", "outdoor") or all'aperto ("in the open [air]") although the Americans have adopted it to mean “in the fresh air” - which sitting on a pavement by the road it certainly isn’t.
•Your third paragraph just does not add up as I have explained - closing Hawthorn Lane near Carrwood Road will not as you say in paragraph 3 - “…stop Hawthorn Lane and Kennerleys Lane from being a rat run…”.

The final few paragraphs are a bit of a mini election manifesto. “Consultation?” - who with? Nobody has asked ME! The parking issues that are not improving in Wilmslow and are a major cause of danger […safer and better for cyclists…] are still not resolved and cyclists ANYWHERE will NEVER be safe on our roads as long as they share it with motor vehicles. So start thinking of separating the two of them. The road out of Wilmslow towards Handforth can NEVER be made safe for cyclists [and pedestrians too for that matter]. It is narrow with no safety on the pavements, which are inadequate as far as Styal Road. I do have a vehicle-free plan for safe cycling out of town going north if you care to ask. It will not be inexpensive but is the only possibility and has been independently also thought up by Transition Wilmslow. Perhaps the likes of Mr Peter Emerson Jones would like to put back some of the many millions he has earned form all his ‘activities’ in Wilmslow. At 85 years old he is getting on a bit now and after all, like those of us only worth a few quid he can’t take it with him WHEN he goes. Cycle Lane EVERYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY should be declared MADATORY by the government and not ADVISORY to allow councils everywhere to get the white paint out and make them safer. But that would only be a start. The gutters need to be cleaned and free of holes, leaves, grit and stones and any other debris that makes being on two wheels DANGEROUS.
Your reply please Councillor Goldsmith?
Rick Andrews
Sunday 9th August 2020 at 8:14 pm
The above comment misses the point referenced by Birgitta Hoffman that 2 closures to vehicle traffic are the core of the scheme. One is at the junction of Broadwalk and Carrwood Road and the second where Hawthorn Lane passes the Post Office - quite correctly named for its original function. There is no opportunity for rat running via Broadwalk or Kennerleys Lane. It is a great proposal which will increase safety and reduce emissions in a residential area. Who can possibly object to that!
As for the ramblings about local property developers - this is not directly relevant to the proposed traffic scheme, and ignores the employment created during construction of offices and homes and the resulting taxation benefits of commercial and residential occupancy and the comments are perhaps somewhat envious of success. Thanks also for the Wikipedia definition of al fresco - We are so lucky that Mr Smith is available to educate Wilmslow residents, and I assume he actually lives in the area affected by the scheme to comment so extensively.
However, I agree that improvements in road maintenance for walkers and cyclists should be prioritised. Finally, the illustration of a road closure is exactly that / it is clear that it is not the exact location.
Mark Russell
Monday 10th August 2020 at 6:38 am
Well said David Smith, blows all this nonsense out of the water. I note Mr Goldsmith has decided not to answer, our councillors ignoring our opinions as always.
Florence Collier
Thursday 13th August 2020 at 10:36 am
Disappointed at the knee jerk reactions to proposals that are designed to help residents experience a better Wilmslow.

Someone made some excellent points on a related thread: you can't assume that the volumes of traffic pre-lockdown will manifest themselves in the medium to long-term, as people decide to work from home more.

Also, the proposals are designed to encourage a modal shift: individual motor vehicle to foot/cycle. Or "park and stride". Some residents, those that are physically able to, will have changed their habits and walked or cycled to shops - yes, it is possible!

And therefore "diverting" onto other roads is not necessarily going to be the big issue residents are concerned about.

And remember, the schools are introducing phased drop offs and pick ups. Would be great to see the "walking buses" re-introduced.

We won't know until we try them out. They are just a start, but please give these proposals a chance!
Keith Harker
Monday 17th August 2020 at 11:48 am
As a long standing resident of Pownall Park who has for many years cycled daily - I consider the closure of Hawthorne Lane to motor vehicles to be the wrong solution to the wrong problem at the wrong time. The inconvenience and frustration far outweighs any marginal benefits.
At first sight it would appear that the majority of those affected oppose the proposal - and yet it appears that it is being imposed without consultation - which, if true, is both lamentable and disappointing.
Rick Andrews
Tuesday 25th August 2020 at 6:06 pm
Statistically It’s incorrect to draw the conclusion that the majority oppose the scheme when there are hundreds of households on Pownall Park and Hawthorn Lane. Only 34 comments here and not all oppose. The only valid conclusion is that the majority have not commented at all either way. By default the people not commenting could be taken as not motivated to oppose so the majority actually support the proposal. Another forum arranged an equally flawed poll to support the knee jerk opposition to the scheme.
Fred Rayers
Wednesday 26th August 2020 at 10:08 am
Rick, even more likely is that they are not aware of the planned changes, havn't looked at the detail, never comment on sites like this, don't care either way, or many other reasons. Its certainly not possible to just assume they support it - they may or may not.

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