Toucan crossing is being downgraded
Dear Sir, — Cheshire East Highways has recently published its intention to install a puffin road crossing on the A533, Middlewich Road in Sandbach, near the Co-op store.
I, and others, notably Coun Kathryn Flavell and Mr Bunte, have been campaigning for years for Cheshire East Council to carry out this work which is funded from a section 106 contribution from the developer of Elworth Hall Farm, Sandbach or more accurately, the residents of the development. It is now three and a half years overdue.
While the crossing is indeed welcome, it is regrettable that Cheshire East has decided to downgrade it from a toucan crossing, as specified in the S106 agreement, to a puffin crossing.
Toucan crossings are wider and permit both pedestrians and cyclists to cross at the same time.
This downgrading of the crossing is yet another act of blatant discrimination by Cheshire East Council against cyclists despite the council’s pleas of promoting cycling and forms of transport other than the car. Fine words but clearly no action, even when it is not costing council tax payers anything.
A further crossing at School Lane, on the same stretch of the Middlewich Road, has been identified in the same S106 agreement as a Toucan crossing but it would appear that Cheshire East Council now has plans to reduce this to pedestrian refuges in the middle of the carriageway. Another example of downgrading and discrimination against cyclists. It will also be illegal to spend S106 funding on this change to the crossing as the S106 agreement only permits spending money on works detailed in the agreement.
A S106 pathway between Grange Way and Elworth Hall primary school, which was specified in a Community Infrastructure Levy document as a footway/cycleway, should have been constructed wider to accommodate cyclists but was downgraded to facilitate pedestrians only.
Mr Bunte, a member of Cycling UK and chairperson of the local cycling group, recently highlighted a footbridge in Elworth which should have included cycling provision but had several steps instead of a ramp. This lack of provision for cyclists in Sandbach is more than a coincidence.
I would appeal to Coun Suzie Akers Smith, Cheshire East Council cycling champion, and the cycling and disabled fraternity in Sandbach to write to Cheshire East Council and have this latest decision to install a puffin crossing instead of a toucan crossing reversed.
How can the council pretend to work towards a carbon neutral authority by 2025 when it deliberately withdraws support for carbon free transport? — Yours faithfully,