Mad, scary and bad

Surviving the walk to school each morning

Archive for the tag “Cheshire East”

Dancing in the street

2012-12-03 photo 6 smallerWelcome to December.

After a week where traffic was calm and reasonable, this morning saw a return to the logjams of previous weeks.  Luckily, the rain had passed over by the time we set off, with guitar, PE kit, book bag and water bottle.  Already, cars were parking up towards Mill Lane, and it was just after half past eight.

2012-12-03 photo 9 smallerJust takes a couple of vehicles to try to squeeze through, for a logjam to build up.  I feel for the car drivers coming towards us this morning.  What else could they do, where else could they go but up on the pavement.  All credit to them for the care they exercised.  The alternative?  A stand-off as more vehicles piled in behind and in front of them.

2012-12-03 photo 12 smallerAnd the same thing was happening north of the school too.

Time to relax?
You might have read the 4 page article in last week’s Chronicle about Cheshire East plans for development.  You may have formed the impression that the south of Nantwich is now probably safe from unwarranted, unsustainable, speculative development.  Even if this development plan for our county is passed by the council’s committee, it still has to go out to consultation next year.

And this is the important bit, it will have no bearing upon planning applications already submitted, like the two for Nantwich South.  If they get passed, look forward to it getting worse on our roads.

You could hear a pin drop
More than one month on from the “bogus” support letters shenanigans being reported in the media, Cheshire East still haven’t publicly decided their position on this potential distortion of the planning process…

I emailed Cheshire East last Tuesday, urging them to get down from the fence before it’s too late.

Read receipts are a wonderful thing.

My email was read by senior people in planning and legal on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of our two local councillors also read it.

You could hear a pin drop in the silence that’s ensued.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 1
Manners: 6
No. of cars parking illegally:0

Sitting on the fence

It’s all gone quiet at Cheshire East.

Two weeks after I wrote about some strange goings on with ‘letters of support’ for Muller’s ‘Nantwich South’ planning applications, there’s still no word from the council.  Previously, a council spokesperson had said they were “… considering our position regarding the matter.

I’m left wondering how long Cheshire East will continue to sit on the fence.  With these two applications pencilled in for the council’s Strategic Planning Board on 5th December (just 19 days away), time is fast running out.

Maybe it’s easier to sit on the fence.  It’s certainly easier than investigating the allegations.

We are not alone…
It seems that similar questionable submissions have come to light in Sandbach.  The Sandbach “Stop The Old Mill Quarter” blog says:

“If you look on the CEC planning site CEC Planning Site on page 9 you will see quite a few comments supporting the retail park.

Now look closely, and you will see that they are all the same letter with names and addresses hand written on the top of them.

More interesting is that they are all from the Alsager / Stoke on Trent area and NOT Sandbach. Now Muller’s offices are in Alsager…….

To much of a coincidence ? – I will let you decide ??????

In fact if you look closely, all of the names and addresses are in the same handwritting and none of them are signed !!!!!”

If, like me, you find this all bit strange, you may be wondering what else is happening that we just haven’t discovered yet.

The walk to school, even though they drove

Today’s post is later than usual.  Directly after the school walk, I was off to a meeting in Leeds.  That doesn’t seem to have dampened visitors’ thirst for the site, there’s been lots of people reading it throughout today.  Thank you.

It’s becoming quite usual for us to see cars parking right back to the 30 mph sign on Broad Lane.  This must be getting on for half a mile away from the school, crazy that this is how far away parents need to park.  On the bright side, I guess it’s a bit more time with their children.

After the wet summer and autumn, we had yet another crisp, dry morning for our journey to school.  Even though the traffic was relatively light (probably still too much for most residential areas though), there were still a few vehicle tussles.

Here’s a (sadly) typical jam working itself loose.

Snap happy update
No word yet about who the mystery man was yesterday.  Broad Lane School have not been informed about any council or highways activity around school and do not recognise the man in question.

A couple of residents of Broad Lane were also out yesterday, taking photos of the traffic on the bend by Maylands Farm (where Muller propose to build a roundabout to service the main access road to their desired housing estate) to send in with their comments on the Muller planning applications.  I too will be submitting evidence of the chaos with my comments.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 7
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 7
No. of cars parking illegally: 0

Snap happy

Seems like I’ve started a trend.  This morning, on our way to school, we spotted another person taking photos along Broad Lane.  Strange thing was, this person looked to only be taking photos when there was no traffic!  If I’d been on my own, I would have asked him what he was doing.  However, with a child present, I didn’t want to risk an altercation along the lines of last Wednesday’s.

Our walk was pleasant, as for once the road was relatively calm.  Where vehicles met, sense prevailed and no dramas unfolded.  If only every day could be like this.  Makes you realise what we’ve become accustomed to over the years.

At school, a couple of parents asked me if I’d seen the photographer – no one seemed to recognise him.  Perhaps you might be able to shed some light?

Yes, it’s zig-zag time again
On our way back home last Friday, I was amazed to see this car pull in to the staff car park entrance, reverse back out onto the road, then pull up in front of the school.  Two ladies waiting on the path got in.  There was plenty of room to park by the old school house, just 10 yards away, but perhaps it was too much to expect them to walk those few yards.

Housing Shenanigans
Saturday’s posting sounds to have struck a chord with many readers of this blog.   Lots of people read and re-read the posting.  I’m told that a number of people saw the article and immediately checked the Cheshire East planning portal.  If you had a look, let me know what you found.

Maybe you’re thinking of commenting on the Muller planning applications for “Nantwich South”?
Go along to a session outside the Co-op on the Cronkinson Farm estate on Saturday 10 Nov, between 9.30am and 4pm. You can address and sign a letter on the spot. Protect Stapeley will hand deliver it for you.

Perhaps you’ve already filled in the letter(s) posted through your door in the past few days?
You can hand in your completed letter(s) at the session on Saturday. Protect Stapeley will hand deliver it for you.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 8
No. of cars parking illegally:1 (from Friday afternoon)

Tales of the Unexpected

I can’t believe what I’ve stumbled across.

Perhaps you will be concerned too.

A couple of days ago, I was curious to see what comments Cheshire East have received for the two Muller planning applications. Browsing through the comments posted online, some strange things struck me about letters supporting the phase 1 application;

  • Letters have been sent from at least one road that doesn’t exist in Nantwich.
  • A number of letters look to have addresses and names written by the same hand and pen.
  • Post codes for completely different parts of CW5 were written on letters from certain roads in Nantwich.
  • Several letters had names redacted.
  • Some letters posted online had no names associated with them.
  • Three letters were sent in twice by the same people and had been accepted as separate comments.

As I was starting to write this post on Friday evening, a story broke on Nantwich News. It seems that other people have similar concerns.

This potentially worrying situation has been dramatically underlined. It sounds like some people were apparently unaware that letters of support had been sent in with their name/address. As Pat Cullen put it A point of concern for me was how shocked some of the often elderly people I spoke to were when told that their name and address was on a website for all to see and they were supporting a planning application they had no knowledge of”

Of course, I’m not suggesting that letters have been sent in without consent.

However, you might have a picture in your mind right now of how fast I leapt to check for anything similar from my address. If, like me, you would be unhappy to see a planning application comment sent in in your name without your consent, and you live on one of the listed streets below, you may want to check for yourself;

Beatty Road Blagg Avenue Byron Walk
Capel Way Coniston Close Cope Avenue
Crewe Road Dorfold Drive Edleston Road
Enerley Close Ernley Close Fairfax Drive
Gibson Close Hayes Close Manck Drive
Manor Road Manor Road North Marsh Lane
Millfields Mount Drive Myton Drive
Queens Drive Riverside Wallfield Road
Ruskin Road, Crewe Lawton Road, Crewe

Having been told about these discrepancies, Cheshire East are “… considering our position regarding the matter.” I’m looking forward to seeing what they decide to do, when they’ve finished considering.

Hope it’s before the Planning Committee meet on 5 December, I won’t be holding my breath though.

Let’s limit the chaos

Perhaps you’ve already had this through your letterbox?  More are being delivered over the next few days.

The traffic is already a nightmare along Broad Lane, also along many other roads in this area.  Perhaps you want this chaos to get better, rather than worse.

With our help, this development CAN be stopped, and a massive increase in the traffic chaos prevented.

There are just 12 days left to send comments to Cheshire East about the two Muller planning applications for Nantwich South (phase 1 of a proposed huge housing development).  Protect Stapeley have been actively campaigning to stop this development taking place as they believe the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages of such a scheme in Stapeley.

How to object:

  • If you have received the flyer – every adult member of your household can send in their own comments letter to Cheshire East.  Add your name, address and sign the letter.  Post it to the address shown top left (you will need a stamp – using an A5 or smaller envelope will allow it to be posted as a letter).
  • Ask Protect Stapeley to email you an electronic copy of the letter.
  • Comment online.  Visit both planning applications (12/3746N and 12/3747N) and use the link “comment on this application”.  Remember to comment on both applications.  Some key objections are shown on the leaflet.
  • Visit Protect Stapeley in Nantwich town centre tomorrow (Saturday 3 Nov), between 9am and 4pm. Address and sign a letter and they will hand deliver it for you.
  • Drop in to a session outside the Co-op on the Cronkinson Farm estate on Saturday 10 Nov, between 9.30am and 4pm.  Address and sign a letter and Protect Stapeley will hand deliver it for you.

The milk lorry cometh

It’s bin day today.  Maybe you’ve read some of my earlier postings about the timing of the bin lorry coinciding with school drop off.  This morning, no sign of the lorry at all, perhaps Cheshire East have listened.  Consequently, the walk to school was far less fraught that it has been every Wednesday for the past few years.  Just as well, as along with about 30 other parents, we were going to school with overnight bags for a class trip.

Then again, the arrival of the 73 bus is always fun.

This morning, a car reversed for several hundred yards to make room for the bus, only to become stuck at the queueing traffic behind (it’s at the start of today’s film).  The only way they could escape was to pull into someone’s driveway.

The sound of wheelie bags filled the air as we crossed the road by school.  Traffic was light for a Wednesday, so that was good.

Spoke too soon.  For the second day in a row, all it took was a single large lorry for chaos to be unleashed.  There was some pretty scary starting and stopping, close to a brave cyclist (you can make out their head to the left of the lorry about 1 minute into this film).

Traffic backed up, making the trip into school for KS1 children and their parents dangerous.  Just see how busy the pavements are.

All of this is fairly standard stuff for this road.  Would it be so normal anywhere else, would we become so desensitised to this if it wasn’t a daily thing?

There’s a new entry in the zig-zag gallery today.

Put this in your diary – Thursday 1 Nov, 7.30pm
If you are at all concerned about the plans for Nantwich South and the massive impact they would have on our roads, do go along to a parish council meeting at Pear Tree School this Thursday.

Muller recently submitted its first two applications as part of a larger proposal to create a 1,100 home village on the fields. Protect Stapeley is urging people opposing the scheme to attend.  Remember to send comments on the plans to Cheshire East Council before public consultation closes on Wednesday November 14.

The two applications to be discussed are for;

  • A new highway access road, including footways, cycleway and associated works on land off Peter de Stapleigh Way,
  • Phase 1 of Muller Group Homes development to include 189-homes and business units.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 8
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 8
No. of cars parking illegally:1 (a lorry this time)

Enjoy it while you can

That was close!

Maybe it was an after effect of a weekend of good weather, or perhaps it was just a coincidence.  Whatever the reasons, the walk to school today was rather nice.  We’d reached a relatively clear part of the path when this lorry came past.   I’m looking forward to this pavement getting the same tidying up as the one along London Road which now looks great – pity it doesn’t have anywhere near the volume of pedestrians.

The meeting of traffic was remarkably orderly outside school. Probably due in no small part to the zig-zags being empty.  What would this scene be like if the oft talked of “Nantwich South” development plans come to pass?

How development plans would change our lives
Being curious, I took a quick look at the figures presented in Muller’s “Traffic Statement“.  I wanted to see just what their predictions for traffic volumes would be, at the times when we’re taking our children to school and picking them up.

Setting aside any discussion about the validity of the data, the traffic statement predicts in less than 2 years we will have another 135 vehicles passing our school during morning drop-off!  It gets worse, as by 2019 this figure rises to 156 more vehicles than today.  That’s an increase from 294 to 450 vehicles!  Just when we’re trying to get our children safely into school.  It’s a similar situation in the afternoons too!

Apparently, having an access road from Maylands Farm corner will “create an attractive link through the site and is likely to result in a redistribution of traffic currently using First Dig Lane“.  In other words, Broad Lane will be part of the main access route to this proposed development. And none of this looks to include construction traffic similar to that we’re already experiencing (since August) for the old Stapeley Water Gardens site of 146 houses.

What impact would all this have on our school journeys.  It’s one thing to sit in an office crunching numbers on spreadsheets – the reality is already a mini-hell two times a day.  A parent described this future picture as “a living nightmare“.  And, if you travel along Peter de Stapeleigh Way or Audlem Road in the morning, imagine how much more congested that journey will be too.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 5
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 9
No. of cars parking illegally:0

And so it begins …

It often seems to start like this.  We’re happily walking down the road to school, all is fairly quiet alongside the line of parked cars.  A couple of cars pass us, then nothing.  A quick look behind us reveals why…

Zoom in, there’s a parent on the path by the lorry

There just isn’t enough space for two lines of cars to pass alongside parked vehicles.  It’s impossible with lorries involved.  Fortunately, drivers waited until parents with children and buggies had walked past before mounting the kerb.

What possesses people to join a queue when they can see a logjam up ahead?  Surely the sensible option is to wait where they are.

Reaching school, all was quiet on the zig-zags. No cars parked either there, or at the bus stop, so it was safe to cross over and safe for the school bus to pull up too.

Click to view the road plan

The start of Nantwich South?
Did you know that Muller have applied for planning permission for an access road, the first step towards building “Nantwich South”?  The plans show a road going South from the traffic lights by Pear Tree School, ending with a roundabout and two spur roads.  Public consultation ends on 7 November 2012, the application documents are here (ref: 12/3746N).  More on this soon.

Council taking notice …
At the beginning of October I emailed the leader of Cheshire East Council, Michael Jones, about the scary situation we face each day.  This morning, I had a reply from Kevin Melling (Head of Highways and Transport), saying “The Leader has requested that Highways investigate and I will forward this to the relevant officers in the first instance.”

Lets see what happens over the next few weeks about hedges, bin collection, traffic ….

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 7
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 7
No. of cars parking illegally:0

Man from council, he say….

Just come out of Cheshire East’s planning committee meeting – Stapeley Broad Lane School’s car park planning application has been….

Approved!

2012-10-10 celebration

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