All residents of Cranage and Holmes chapel should have by now received a questionnaire regarding the proposal for a bridge over the river Dane.

Many will not be aware of all the facts regarding this proposal.

What is proposed is the construction of a bridge over the river Dane at the side of the sewage works located on the Cranage side of the river, to connect to the Dane meadow nature trails.

The questionnaire refers to the possibility of the purchase of the land required, what they actually mean is the compulsory  purchase of this land from a private individual, very doubtful that this can be achieved as it’s not for a major public requirement project.

The cost for the bridge is at best a guess made by Cheshire east officers there is no specific design put forward, and it seems that its requirements change as time goes by, in fact the minutes of a Cheshire east meeting on the 29th of October 2013 held at Westfield refer to a footpath and cycle way along with a bridal path, so this bridge gets bigger and bigger, in fact the minutes refer to a bridge of some 100 ft in length.

The amount referred to of £331,000  pounds is not correct it ignores the £ 65,000  pounds indicated in the minutes for the year 2014/2015 and also that no staff time costs have been added to these figures , so at best guess it’s more likely to be nearer £500,000 pounds. And that’s still a guess.

The cabinet member for the environment councillor Topping at the meeting asked the officers attending if there was any savings to be made by this proposal to Cheshire east, the reply was yes the removal of a school bus would save £33.000 pounds per year, he also asked was there any other route available to which he was told no there wasn’t.

The fact that a council officer responsible for footpaths and rites of way doesn’t know that a major footpath already exists is astounding, what I refer to is called the Dane valley way it’s a path that starts in Buxton in the peak district and finishes in Middlewich some 41 miles in length and is clearly shown on Cheshire Easts own maps on their website, where it crosses the valley at the side of Masseys mill the path that was created for the Dane valley meadow project attaches itself to it.

So a path already exists if anyone wants or even has the time to walk  their child to school especially in the winter months when it’s dark and wet.

The questionnaire also gives the impression that funding will come from outside sources and that means it won’t affect ratepayers i.e. us.

This is again nonsense, funding streams from the likes of wren and others will in the main only match pound for pound at best the monies put in by the main bodies that would be both Cheshire east and the parish councils all of which we fund via our rates.so it will cost all of us both in the short term and in the long term for the maintained costs involved.

The minutes of the October meeting also refer that another option is to look at making the footpath continuous from Holmes chapel to Cranage this was not discussed.

But I would like to draw attention to the only section of the A50 which doesn’t have a footpath that is the section from Middlewich road up to the spinney caravan complex,

Cheshire east have refused to do anything about cutting the grass or overgrown hedge and stated that they have no money for it, the consequence is that pedestrians have to step into the A50 to pass at this point

This section of road has seen five major crashes in the last twelve month’s one of which left a young lady with disability for life.

So rather than waste our money on this frivolous bridge why don’t the elected councillors both on Cheshire east and parish councils spend time and effort to make the only section of footpath missing all the way from Knutsford to Holmes chapel  a reality before we have a fatality?

Please feel free to leave a comment below as to how you feel about the plans