Macclesfield: Repairing Cheshire East’s road network will take a staggering 400 years

  Posted: 24.09.21 at 10:12 by Belinda Ryan, Local Democracy Reporter

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Repairing Cheshire East’s road network will take a whopping four centuries if the investment from government continues at the same rate, the chair of the highways committee has said.

Cllr Craig Browne (Alderley Edge, Ind) was speaking during a debate on the council’s highways service improvement plan after Cllr Barry Burkhill (Handforth, Ind) had referred to the poor state of the roads due to ‘chronic underfunding’.

Cllr Burkhill had told the highways and transport committee how the government had cut highways funding over the past year.

“What is needed to maintain the present poor network, we need about £30m a year,” he said.

“If we’re only getting £15m [now] and £19m last year, the poor state of our roads is going to get worse and worse, so government have got to address this.”

Cllr Browne described the funding of the highways service from central government as ’simply inadequate’.

Macclesfield Central Labour Councillor Liz Braithwaite, is also Cheshire East's Vice-Chair of the Northern Planning Committee.

“It’s incumbent on all of us to lobby our MPs, to lobby government,” he said.

“We’re responsible, as a highways authority, for about 1,700 miles of carriageway and, using the government’s calculation formula, the replacement cost of that 1,700 miles is about £6 billion.

“This year we’ve received £15m from the Department for Transport (DfT) towards the maintenance of that network.

“That £15m represents a quarter of the 1% of the £6bn that’s needed to replace the network or, to put it another way, at the current levels of investment it will take 400 years to repair the whole of our network.”

Committee vice chair Laura Crane (Sandbach Ettiley Heath & Wheelock, Lab) proposed that Cllr Browne write to the DfT outlining the situation and asking for more funding. This was supported unanimously.

A Macclesfield pothole on Churchill Way.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Liz Braithwaite (Macclesfield Central, Lab) had asked why pothole repairs only seemed to last ‘a day or two’.

The committee heard that Cheshire East had fixed around 33,000 potholes this year.

Andrew Ross, director of highways and infrastructure, explained that often temporary pothole repairs were done as soon as possible to keep the road safe and to keep it open. More permanent repairs then followed.

But he added: “Pothole repairs aren’t ever a really permanent solution but I think quite often the public reaction is to those temporary fixes, which are to keep the road open and to keep the road safe for the travelling public and, by their very temporary nature, they are prone to breaking up very quickly, but it is a quick and immediate response for highways safety.”

Seen a pothole in Macclesfield? You can report it here.

Did you know Macclesfield's potholes are filled in by an Essex company?

See Also: Macclesfield Central Councillor Digs into Cheshire East's Pothole Problem.

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