CE Highways lackadaisicalness causes crash

A serious crash occurred on the junction of Pedley, Pinfold and Marthall Lanes at 8:30am on 1st December 2020. After several earlier near-misses from other vehicles, a mini-bus from a nearby old people’s home skidded on black ice into a hedge. Fortunately the bus contained no old people at the time.

Moments later as the driver and her assistant got out of their vehicle a large lorry carrying aggregates skidded, hit their mini-bus, and slammed it through the hedge. Both ladies in the mini-bus and the driver of the lorry escaped shaken but unharmed.

Cheshire East Highways were originally informed of the problem two months earlier on the 7th October. A drain from a rain gully had become blocked and cracked, resulting in the grid acting as a “spring” and spreading water all over the road, even when there had been no rain. To make matters worse it was the site a massive raw sewage spill 8 years earlier, so the water was foul and a health hazard.

Despite the fault being logged by various parishioners, numerous phone calls, including over 7 calls to the Cheshire East Emergency Hotline and several emails being sent nothing had been done over a month later. So on the 9th of November, having seen numerous near collisions of cyclists and motorists the previous weekend, parish councillor Nick Speakman again rang Cheshire East Highways emergency phone number but this time recorded the call, so concerned was he that this would result in a fatality.

During that call he stated. “Cyclists are swinging out to avoid it into oncoming traffic… we’ve had air ambulances here in the past for cyclists being hit head on by cars in just this situation…. beside which, if it’s not sorted soon, we’ll have frost and then there’ll be even more accidents”

Cheshire East Highways sent an officer, Josh Holden, later that day who said, “There is no rain gully” and closed the job. Councillor Speakman persisted with a further call to the Emergency Hotline and when later pressed as to how he denied the existence of a gully, the officer said “well I couldn’t see one because of all the water… but I’ve since looked on Google Street View and you can see one”

“I couldn’t see the rain gully… because of all the water”

Josh Holden, Cheshire East Highways

Numerous dates were set to sort it, no one came out, and each time the job was closed again.

By the 19th of November residents had decided to take matters into their own hands, risking their own safety on 60mph road and tried for two weeks to pump the water away but to no avail.

Ironically two days before the crash a Cheshire East Highways officer arrived on the scene and said it would be sorted with “at least some signage” by the following day, Monday the 30th of November. Residents removed their pumps, no one came, we subsequently had the first frosty morning of the winter and the results can be seen above.

We contacted both Simon Davies, Head of Cheshire East Highways and Councillor Laura Crane who is in charge of Highways and Waste for comment but received no replies.

Ollerton with Marthall Parish Council will meet on Thursday the 3rd of December to consider lodging a formal complaint with the Chief Executive of Cheshire East.

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