Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 5th April 2018 @ 7.30 pm at ‘Westlow’ Mere Fisheries, Hulme Walfield, Congleton.
Present: Councillor M Wakerly who chaired the meeting, Councillor G Silman, Councillor P Amies, Councillor G Booth , Councillor J Wray (Cheshire East) and J Mason (Clerk ).
Mr John Carruthers – VTC Consultancy Ltd.
23 members of the public attended.
Minutes The draft minutes were approved from 6th April 2017.
Chairman’s Introduction: The Chairman opened the meeting, welcomed the public to the Annual Parish meeting and introduced the Parish Councillors. He summarised the last twelve months Which culminated in the amazing achievement of the approval of the Neighbourhood Plan on the 15thFebruary 2018. He thanked everybody for voting and achieving an astounding 55% turnout. The next initiative in the Parish was to embark on the improvement of highways within our rural community and he went on to thank the public for completing of the recent highways survey.
Accounts: The Clerk presented the financial accounts of the Parish Council for the last twelve months and these were approved.
Presentation from Mr John Carruthers VTC Consultants
Road Safety on the Highway Network in Hulme Walfield & Somerford Booths Parishes
In November 2017 the Parish Council commissioned an independent traffic survey in six separate locations across the parish to gain information on traffic numbers, type of vehicle and speed of vehicles traveling through the Parishes. This has given the Parish Council a baseline and highlighted the current areas of interest about speed and commuting traffic (the rat runs). This will also enable the Parish Council to identify future changes as a result of the many housing developments being built in the area and the imminent start of the Congleton Link Road.
JC had prepared a presentation, focusing on accidents and options for how we could address traffic issues using the traffic survey results and a study of the area. The traffic figures in the UK have shown a decline in accidents since 1960 where there was a significant peak. In the UK there were 180,000 casualties and 1,792 people had been killed in 2016; 5% on Motorways and 55% on the roads with a speed limit of 40mph or more. The traffic had increased over the past 24 years, but the number of accidents had declined, since 2010 there had been an increase of 40% more traffic.
HW & SB have rural roads, and most are governed by the national speed limit, we also have the challenge of no footpaths, poor road surface drainage, little lightening. They are typical of small rural roads. Most roads in the Parish are part of the Cheshire Cycleway scheme, but we do not have designated cycle lanes. Being rural we also have many walkers, cycleways with many walkers, cyclists and horse users. The bad weather in 2017/18 and higher volume of traffic across the parish had resulted in damage in many grass verges especially along narrow roads such as Mill Lane and Smithy Lane.
JC had utilised CRASH MAP to identify accidents statistics in the parish and surrounding areas. The plot showed statistics in the last five years but 2017 had no completed data so it was 2012/2016. Within the Parish boundaries there had been 4 minor accidents ,0 red serious accidents and no fatal accidents. It was noted that there had been several on the A34 and A536 some fatal. The figures in the area showed 2012/16 = 102 accidents and 2007/2011 98 so no significant difference but in 1999/2003 there had been 125 and traffic had increased. This indicated that the increased volume of traffic had not caused more reportable accidents where injury occurred in fact the opposite had been seen.
There was then a summary of improvement ideas that we could consider helping manage the traffic in our parishes;
- Parish Council ‘corvex’ boards prompting new campaigns – e.g. beware of horse riders, drive with courtesy, please don’t damage the verges.
- Improvement of the verges – engage with the farmers and highways department
- Education, Engineering, Enforcement – 3 E’s
- Highlight cycleways routes
- Gateways to the area – clear demarcation of entry into out parishes -flowers and welcome messages to encourage slower and more courteous driving.
- Passing places and single-track lanes
- Quiet lanes e.g. Macclesfield forest
- Verge improvements
- Speed enforcement (although it was noted speed was not a major issue and enforcement is difficult)
JC suggested a plan should be drawn up with the Parish Council and residents and then we would be able to engage with Cheshire East highways.
The Chairman thanked JC for his presentation and the many questions from the parishioner’s present. He summarised the evening and welcomed the public to volunteer to engage in the highways initiative to assist the Parish Council.
Meeting closed at 9.35pm.