Cabinet Member for the Environment meeting on Tuesday 29th October 2013 at Westfields, Sandbach: notes prepared by myself, which I consider to be more detailed than the “official” Cheshire East minutes minutes

Presented to councillor Topping portfolio holder by Councillor Les Gilbert with the backing of Councillor Andrew Kolker.

The proposal is for a bridge to connect to the Dane Valley Project of footpaths and nature walks. It is not in the budget for Cheshire East nor is the cost of officers’ time allowed for. Cheshire East is aware that it lays itself open to adverse publicity due to the fact that some land owners do not want to sell their land to support this project.

The four items below were raised in the meeting

1) It was stated that there is no existing footpath from Cranage to Holmes Chapel.to allow school children to use

2) The bridge is to allow for pedestrians /cyclists/ and a bridleway to connect the two communities

3) The budget cost would be £350000.

4) There would be a saving to Cheshire East by removing a school bus of £34000.

Dealing with item 1), there is a footpath that connects Cranage and Holmes chapel and it is not an insignificant one: it’s called the Dane valley way. Ref Cranage fp15. The section that is in Cranage is ref fp4 and when it crosses the boundary it becomes Holmes Chapel fp3. You can have a look at it here Cheshire East Maps

Cranage walkways

Also the footpaths that have been repaired and new ones created in the Dane Valley Project are attached to fp3 half way down its length, so I am quite surprised that this was not recorded, in the meeting by the Public Right Of Way (PROW) officer who was presenting the case. The argument for a safe footpath is defeated by the existence of this path.

Click Here for the  Dane-Meadow-plan-for-WREN-grant

Dealing with items 2) and 3), I think that the officers’ and councillors’ perception of this bridge is not a realistic one. If as stated, it is to encompass pedestrians and cyclists and horses then it will need to be in excess of four meters wide to comply with current regulations on safety which in turn will impact on the cost of construction due to design requirements which will also be imposed by the Rivers’ Authority and their very, very stringent design requirements.

So in my view the costings for this project of £350000 are way below what it would actually in fact cost. I base this on practical experience working on a number of projects along with the River Authorities and Water Board Civil Division.

Item 4) speaks for itself; to expect children to use this bridge in winter months is unrealistic at best. And the comment to save on a school bus is irrelevant, as very few dwellings would fall inside the distance from Holmes Chapel schools if the bridge was built so the bus would still be required.

Comment

To embark on this project that many will see as a vanity project and to obtain land under compulsory purchase orders on such a flawed basis for requirement will reflect badly on any parish council that is involved and indeed it reflects badly on Cheshire East.

All residents have just seen the withdrawal of the brown bin scheme which won’t be resumed until March 2014 giving a saving of we understand of £80000 for Cheshire East. Therefore to waste time and money on this proposal when budgets are being cut across all departments of Cheshire east is beyond madness.

Peter Wild