Firstly, please can I pass on my heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the family of the lady from Kidsgrove who lost her life on the A50 at Rudheath Lodge Farm, Cranage on Saturday 22nd September 2018.
I have been sent the below anonymously by a local resident due to my capacity within the local Residents Against Quarrying group. It accurately sums up local feeling and sentiment.
As you are aware Residents Against Quarrying is a well informed local community group actively campaigning against the Sibelco plans to quarry the land at Rudheath Lodge Farm for silica sand.
To date approximately 1000 objections have been submitted to both Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester planning departments.
Road safety concerns are the primary objection associated to these plans, as the proposals mean an additional 100 heavy lorries on the already dangerous A50, 6 days per week, 52 weeks per year.
Cheshire East disregarded those concerns when they controversially approved Sibelco’s planning application and dismissed the (evidenced) concerns articulated by Ward Councillor Kolker at the recent planning hearing.
Ultimately the Cheshire East strategic planning group voted in favour of the proposal seemingly unconcerned about the real life and definite traffic dangers.
Cheshire West and Chester are yet to determine the application for the proportion of the Rudheath Lodge Farmland that sits within their jurisdiction.
Sadly this recent tragedy and loss of life is yet another example as to why the objections to the Sibelco proposals are rooted in a very realistic, evidenced, and documented set of circumstances.
Last night after 8.30pm there was a serious accident on the A50 which I attended to offer my assistance – it was very dark but dry.
It appeared that an agricultural trailer(being towed by a tractor) and a car had been in collision. The agricultural equipment appeared to have been turning left into Rudheath Lodge Farm off the A50 and the car had hit it and spun round causing severe impact damage. The occupants of the car, an elderly couple, were trapped in it with the most impact seemingly on the passenger side. Eventually the emergency services arrived and I left them to it. Sadly I was informed that the lady passenger in the car had died at the scene.
The road was relatively quiet last night whilst I was out there but there were still cars speeding through the wreckage before the emergency services arrived adding to the risk of a further collision.
Whilst not wishing to apportion blame for the accident, to me it emphasises the dangers of this stretch of the A50 particularly when slow moving heavy vehicles are joining or leaving it. All the junctions at New Platt Lane, Northwich Road and Goostrey Lane have had fatal accidents since I have lived here. Therefore to increase the risk by any degree is inevitably going to lead to more accidents with the possible distressing consequences I witnessed last light. I think this should be again brought to the attention of the Planning Departments of both Cheshire East and Cheshire West. The 100+ heavy lorry movements per day for 6 days a week for 12 years from the proposed sand quarry at Rudheath Lodge Farm, whether in daylight or darkness, will create this increased risk. In addition, as I have previously highlighted, the restoration plan for the quarry will necessitate considerably more movement of agricultural equipment to and from the A50 at the scene of last night’s accident to access fields on Goostrey Lane and New Platt Lane which are currently, in the main, accessed from within the farm’s boundary.
Police appeal for witnesses
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: “Enquiries in relation to this incident are ongoing and officers are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision or anyone who believes they have any dashcam footage of the incident or footage of the vehicles in the moments leading up to the collision.
“Anyone with any information is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 190767 or visit cheshire.police.uk”
To submit dashcam footage to Cheshire Police dashcam page