On Tuesday 4th February, the Labour/Independent Cabinet passed a decision to remove many gritting routes from across the Cheshire East Borough, despite clear protest and concern from residents and Councillors.
Cllr Liz Wardlaw summed up the feelings of many who attended last week’s Cabinet Meeting in her article to the Macclesfield Express last Wednesday;
“At the Cheshire East Cabinet meeting held on 4.2.20 highlighted this Labour/Independent Coalition administration’s intransigent position on the proposed changes to winter gritting policy to be brought forward in the autumn of 2020. Their decision to cut the winter maintenance budget comes at a time when the extremes of our weather are causing damage and disruption to our highways.
The need to save £2million saw Cabinet ignore the protests from those in attendance. Teachers, residents, town and parish councillors, Conservative councillors, Labour councillors all agreed that the risks of wide spread reduction in gritting routes was too great. Cabinet Member, Cllr Nick Mannion acknowledged the additional housing planned for the Whirley Rd area of Macclesfield would render the policy inappropriate before voting to accept it!
I ask what regard has this policy shown to the needs of our primary school children or to pedestrians and cyclists who will be put at risk as they make their way to school or work in adverse weather? How much genuine opportunity have our town and parish councils had to provide their invaluable local knowledge?
The climate crisis has created unpredictable and extreme weather conditions as seen so vividly this past weekend. It is this changing pattern of weather which dictates that we must invest in our infrastructure to protect our residents. Even so the Labour and Independent administration appear unwilling or unable to shoulder this responsibility. One in six Cheshire East residents are at risk of flooding. There are currently 350 individual property flood investigations ongoing, 32 businesses flooded and 134 homes were flooded in 2019.
We need investment and resilience planning in our highways not maintenance budget cuts. We need to get our children safely to school and our workforce to their place of employment. This requires investment, full and inclusive consultation, leadership and effective management -Is this what we have?”