A six-week consultation will take place to get the public’s feedback on the preferred route for the Middlewich Eastern Bypass.
The scheme would, if approved, unlock key sites for housing and employment.
As part of the consultation, which begins on Monday 19 March, Cheshire East Council will also host three public engagement events, where the project team will be available to discuss the options and answer any questions.*
The team will be keen to hear people’s views and any suggestions they may have for improving the project, which is intended to relieve the town of serious traffic congestion while also unlocking land for new homes and employment sites.
Completion of the road will be the realisation of a long-standing ambition to remove heavy through traffic from the narrow streets of the town centre.
A consultation brochure will be available at the events, at Middlewich Town Hall, the public library and the town’s leisure centre during normal opening hours. It can also be viewed online.**
The council secured £46.8m government funding for the £58m scheme, successfully competing against funding bids for similar projects in other parts of the country. The balance would be met from the council’s capital budget and from developer contributions.
Cheshire East Council proposes the construction of a 2.7km, 50mph, single carriageway from the Salt Cellar Roundabout, on the A54 to Booth Lane, to the south of Middlewich. It is hoped to see construction begin in 2020, with completion around the end of 2021. The project will be subject to the normal planning process.
The road would incorporate a cycleway and footway and a limited number of junctions to strategic sites, including improved access to the new waste transfer station at Cledford Lane.
Following a number of studies and surveys, the council is now in a position to make its preferred option available for public viewing. All comments and feedback received will help to refine the final scheme, which would be put before a planning committee in the summer of 2018.
Constructing the bypass would unlock key development sites that would have the potential to create 1,160 new homes and up to 6,500 new jobs.
Sean Hannaby, Cheshire East Council director of planning and environment, said: “Middlewich town centre suffers from severe traffic congestion due to the growth in heavy vehicle traffic using the A54 and A533, which meet in the town centre.
“We are fully aware of the disruption and inconvenience suffered by residents and businesses in Middlewich as a result of this long-standing issue, which has been worsening over many years.
“Cheshire East Council is determined to address this problem through a bypass option to the east of the town and we would like the views and feedback of as many people as possible in order to arrive at a scheme that the council, local residents and the businesses of this busy town.
“A proposal for a Middlewich Eastern Bypass is included in the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy and the Cheshire East Local Transport Plan. The former Cheshire County Council secured initial planning permission for a scheme in the 1990s but, unfortunately, financial constraints halted its progress.”
Various surveys and assessments are already under way, including air quality, noise, ground investigations, ecological impacts and flood-risk planning.
The consultation period runs for six weeks starting 19 March 2018 and closing at midnight on 29 April. Any comments received before or after these dates will not be included in the consultation process.
*Three public engagement events will take place at St Mary’s Church Hall, 2 King Street, Middlewich on:
· Wednesday 28 March 2018 (2pm–8pm);
· Saturday 14 April 2018 (10am–3pm);
· Thursday 19 April 2018 (2pm–8pm).
** Members of the public can also view the brochure and respond to the consultation at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/middlewicheasternbypass
Or by post at FREEPOST RTUK-RBLY-XUBT, Middlewich Eastern Bypass, 5 First Street, Manchester, M15 4GU.
All responses must be received by no later than 11.59pm on 29 April 2018.