Council drops plans to close Broad Walk

Following a short consultation with members of the public, Cheshire East Highways has decided to rethink its temporary Active Travel Scheme for the Pownall Park area of Wilmslow.

The proposed measures included closing the road at Broad Walk and Carrwood Road and introducing a 20mph speed limit across the whole Pownall Park area. However, the plans have now been suspended and will not be implemented in its current format.

This temporary plan was intended to help encourage cycling and walking in the area and allow a safe walking route to the two schools there. It would have been fully funded by the Department for Transport and was designed to see if any permanent measures would be needed.

Cheshire East councillor for the ward, Cllr Mark Goldsmith said "I had hoped we could at least try this scheme, even for a week as it would help us find a solution to the different traffic problems in the area. However, we have a public consultation process for a reason, so we must consider the residents opinions too. We are supposed to be implementing this for their benefit, so if they clearly don't want it, then we must accept their view and rethink the measures.

"The 20mph zone was widely welcomed but unfortunately the legislation does not allow us to implement this on its own. Therefore, it is back to the drawing board. I hope our Highways Department can devise an alternative that tackles the road issues but in a way the residents can accept."

If an alternative scheme is proposed for this area, then it will be publicly announced and involve a short public consultation period to allow residents to help shape their town.

Broad Walk, Pownall Park


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

Rick Andrews
Friday 28th August 2020 at 3:20 pm
Appalling that the council backs down so weakly. This decision is not in the least democratic. It demonstrates the results of web based comments creating a hysterical frenzy, rather than a rational approach and trial. Let’s hope all the opponents accept responsibility when the next serious accident occurs due to rat runners and excessive speed. Will the council at least press homeowners to cut back overhanging hedges- I doubt that will happen.
Matthew Fowler
Friday 28th August 2020 at 4:34 pm
Great news..!!
Good to see people voices (democracy?) being heard from the consultation process.
I was absolutely dreading the impact of the proposal on the Water Lane traffic lights.
Florence Collier
Friday 28th August 2020 at 5:12 pm
Agreed Rick: unsubstantiated fears, whipped up frenzy, and they couldn't see the benefits. About to get the biggest cul-de-sac ever, safe streets for children to play in, and the envy of Wilmslow, but no...

The council should have stuck to their position and painted a better picture, not least by working with the schools in the area.

We need radical changes imposed on our systems: we're in the middle of a health crisis, and an even bigger climate crisis - the council has declared an emergency after all!
Mark Russell
Friday 28th August 2020 at 6:34 pm
Rick, how many serious accidents have happened down this road in the last ten years?
David Chambers
Friday 28th August 2020 at 7:54 pm
We had the week's road closure that Cllr Goldsmith suggested last year when the road was closed for roadworks, and it was a nightmare. Glad that residents' voices were heard on this issue.
Brian Fox
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 7:50 am
So disappointing that the chance to improve the environment we all live in has been rejected. We are blessed to live in a town ideally suited for cycling and walking to get around, but too often dominated by busy, fast moving traffic. Hawthorn Lane is a prime, but by no means unique, example of this.

We can choose to have a town with an environment of equitable use of our public spaces. We can choose to allow our children to be outdoors without us fearing for their lives. The COVID pandemic has given us an opportunity to re-imagine a better future by showing us how much more pleasant our streets can be.

I hope that the mooted "alternative scheme" comes to fruition and that we can all be open to considering different priorities for our town.
Rick Andrews
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 8:29 am
On the democracy question - I do not recall a vote of any description. There was no council communication to individual households and no formal process. Only a poorly publicised web opinion poll which, given that many families are on holiday, cannot be taken as a collective view. Those who shouted the loudest won. The opportunity to have a safer community was lost in the interests of saving 3 or 4 minutes journey time. Just another day at the circus.
Alex Metcalfe
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 12:17 pm
Fantastic news - well done all involved in objecting to this crazy scheme.
Florence Collier
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 6:18 pm
One positive from this is demonstrable local support for 20mph limits in residential areas, and I hope Mark Goldsmith can now get behind it.

We still need a few more signatures for the October motion to Cheshire East: please sign and share!
Rick Andrews
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 7:49 pm
I repeat - this is the result of a flawed process - the noisy hysterical mob has won - completely undemocratic. Take a step back and look at yourselves, blinkered and driven by selfish interests - I am so disappointed that my Wilmslow neighbours love their cars more than this opportunity to improve the safety of their families. A very sad day. But hey, when the next application for any scheme involving increased traffic in Pownall Park comes up CEC will be happy that they have already agreed it’s OK.
Mark Russell
Sunday 30th August 2020 at 6:32 pm
Rick, how many serious accidents have happened down this road? Also, roads are for cars there are plenty of open spaces for cycling , walking etc in the area. You are on the wrong side of this argument as proven by the fact the council backed down.
Rick Andrews
Monday 31st August 2020 at 8:07 pm
I think you will find that roads are for cyclists and cars and other road users. It’s in the Highway Code. You do not own the road as a car driver or have a monopoly. As for accidents, I am aware of at least 4 in recent years and one young cyclist suffered a broken leg as a result of a car impact. Injuries are much reduced If vehicle speeds are reduced. There is an established principle that if a safety improvement is identified and not implemented then, in the event of an injury caused by that failure, the council can be held liable - maybe they are not aware of the consequences of decisions. This is not an argument with winners and losers - it is a rational belief that things can be safer and better. A lost opportunity to try another way.
Mark Russell
Tuesday 1st September 2020 at 6:39 am
Rick, what caused the accident with the kid? Yes you are right roads are for everyone, so why are you trying to shut them to vehicles?

Can you please go and look at the experiment in Poynton. It causes chaos by making a major road a shared space.

Cars don’t drive down the carrs, which is 100 metres away and can be used by cyclists and walkers to get to the same destination as the road does. So there is already an alternative, so no need to hit the car drivers.

Yes it is a win/lose situation. If that road is closed the town loses as it will become grid locked like poynton.
Gary Doyle
Tuesday 1st September 2020 at 10:39 am
Fantastic news, a victory for common sense, well done to the council for realising the shortcomings of this ill thought out idea.
Florence Collier
Tuesday 1st September 2020 at 12:52 pm
@Mark, you're talking about walking and cycling for leisure, we're talking about walking and cycling for the school run and everyday trips, and elderly people not feeling they're trapped by their location and have to go down the road by car (of course that would still have been possible).

And if you visit the site, you'll understand why parents feel Altrincham Road isn't safe for any of it and default is to drive children to the gates (perhaps they haven't realised that the air pollution is much more concentrated inside the car because of where the air intakes are located, i.e. by the exhaust of the car in front). So alternative routes need to be found and made safe, with good crossing points for residents South of the main road to access.

That said, it's not just about past accidents, is it? Are you saying we should wait for a serious injury before bringing in changes like these? If it's modal shift we need, it's about near misses and minor accidents that put people off, perception of safety / frailty of road user, and air quality.

Residents who objected because they feared displaced traffic onto other roads, please read this:

@Gary and others now celebrating the decision: it's those who can't imagine a different world that are not "thinking things through". We needed to build back better not go back to unsustainable, unhealthy habits - and that requires lots of thought.

More reading for you, great article on why we need to cut car use for the school run

And this blog post from University of Manchester explores how we could be closer to our places of work post lockdown, so that car commuting can be drastically reduced:
Ryan Dance
Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 6:34 am
Common sense prevailed. Use the Carrs if you want the scenic route or use the adequately sized footpaths on Broad Walk for alternative walks.

Made zero sense to funnel more traffic onto Altrincham Road.
Mark Russell
Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 8:27 pm
Florence, how many of those accidents on altrincham road are caused by the stupid parking the parents do just so their little darlings can get to the front door. I caught a bus for five years including walking over a mile a day when I went to school. Guess what? I managed it ok and didn’t get murdered by a car driver.

There are a fantastic set of public footpaths that lead from the town centre straight up to the school. So your talking nonsense. It can’t be on for Chelsea tractors to ferry kids and everyone else can stuff off?

At the end of the day it’s clear what the majority think. Common sense has prevailed.
Trevor Lambert
Thursday 3rd September 2020 at 6:23 am
As a resident of Pownall Park who drives a car, rides a bike and also walks as much as possible, I believe that this was sadly the wrong scheme. We do suffer from the incredibly selfish driving and parking by the parents of children at both schools, but the proposal would not have prevented this. All traffic would have been funneled back on to an already busy Altrincham Road via two difficult junctions with Gorsey Road and Kings Road. Parking by school parents on both sides of Gorsey and adjoining roads is causing traffic chaos at critical times of the day and the potential for accidents is high. Of course we all support a 20mph speed limit on Pownall Park but we need other and more creative ideas to stem the flow of traffic in this residential area.