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Gawsworth has long discussed the need for improved road safety at the crossroads and in the 2016 Neighbourhood Plan survey it was the top road safety concern in the community. The A536 had been named one of the most dangerous roads in the country between Congleton and Macclesfield and in 2016 Cheshire East Council was invited to apply for the Government Safer Roads Fund to improve safety along the road.
The application (see here) included the following provision:
The signal installation at the Dark Lane/Church Lane junction will also alleviate the right turn and junction overshoot problem at that location. Improving route guidance and visual cues to drivers through improved carriageway making and signalling will lead to improved decision making and improved hazard perception.
Since Cheshire East Council was awarded the funds in 2018, Gawsworth Parish Council has been seeking information on the detailed proposals for the village.
In October 2022, Cheshire East Highways attended a parish council meeting, providing an update on the scheme. In relation to the traffic lights, the council was advised that proposals were based on the number of accidents between 2011-2016 and that the number had reduced in the period 2017-2021; it was explained that Cheshire East Highways would review whether lights were appropriate at the junction or alternative measures would better increase safety.
In November 2022, Cheshire East Highways advised that following this review, the recommendation was for a traffic signal junction with signalised pedestrian crossing provision to be installed. Over the past year, the Parish Council has been seeking the detailed proposals from Cheshire East Council to review.
At the October 2023 Parish Council meeting, Cheshire East Highways presented the draft scheme. Under this scheme:
Vehicle tracking had been undertaking to track large vehicles and the stop lines would be set back on Dark Lane and Church Lane to accommodate movements. It was confirmed the equipment was ordered in the spring and that works should commence in the first months of 2024.
At the Parish Council meeting residents and councillors raised a number of comments/concerns, some speaking in support of the proposed traffic signals, other comments summarised as:
Cheshire East Highways advised that:
Cheshire East Highways is currently revising its proposals following feedback at the meeting – this includes providing information on predicted queue lengths and how many cars would make it through each light cycle, assessing pedestrian access to the Methodist Church and checking to ensure driveways near stop lines will not be restricted.
Questions about the proposals can be asked via email@example.com. This is a dedicated email address for questions about the scheme. Whilst the email address can be used to inform CEC Highways of objections, they will review the comments received and any questions will be answered where possible. However, Cheshire East Highways has confirmed that it does not intend to review the decision on installing traffic signals.
Cheshire East Highways will be providing the Parish Council with a set of revised draft plans in advance of its next meeting on 14th November.
The Parish Council will formally be discussing the proposals at this meeting where a decision will be taken on their position to feed back to Cheshire East Highways. As always you can write to: firstname.lastname@example.org to share your views, or contact any parish councillor.