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The Met help tackle link road problems

Speeding drivers will be clocked during a week-long investigation into “bad behaviour” on Congleton’s new link road – with other measures including specialised help from the Met Police.

As part of a scheme to put the brakes on speeders, there will also be a public meeting for residents in April.

The measures were agreed when Coun Suzie Akers Smith met Cheshire Police and crime commissioner John Dwyer to discuss the issues faced by local residents living near Wolstenholme Elmy Way.

After the meeting, Coun Akers Smith said campaigners had been “pushing on an open door” after finding Mr Dwyer “totally receptive” to the situation.

He considered issues including speeding, anti-social behaviour and noise caused by accelerating vehicles and, along with Coun Akers smith, came up with two ideas to tackle the problems – the week-long monitoring operation on the link road and a public meeting.

Their meeting followed Coun Akers Smith’s claim that Wolstenholme Elmy Way, which opened in April last year, had become a “hot spot for bad behaviour”.

As well as speeding, vandalism and fly-tipping have also been reported.

Coun Akers Smith said: “Mr Dwyer was totally receptive. We were pushing on an open door, because he said that speed is probably the one thing that people contact him about most.

“There will be a week-long, 24/7 monitoring operation on the link road at some point in the next couple of months, because the police have to gather their own data as evidence of the speeding.”

There are plans elsewhere in the borough to run pilot projects with stricter speed limits, but as the funding for those has been spent up until April and schemes are planned for the rest of the year, Congleton will not have a pilot project until at least 2023, Coun Akers Smith said.

The meeting with residents in April will take a question-and-answer format, when they will have the chance to raise any link road-related issues.

Coun Akers Smith explained: “It will give a feeling for the desire to introduce limits and enforcement.”

Not all of her points were taken up by the police and crime commissioner. She has previously said that there was a problem with overtaking on the link road, as there was not enough space between each roundabout to safely pass another car.

One of her recommendations to Mr Dwyer was for overtaking to be banned along it completely, but Mr Dwyer had told her this would need a “council decision”.

Coun Akers Smith added: “A few of the things I raised were council decisions. The problems he was willing to take responsibility for were speeding vehicles, anti-social behaviour, littering and the noise caused by fast acceleration.

“One idea to tackle that last point is ‘noise cameras’. The commissioner said that someone from the Metropolitan Police will be coming to Cheshire to discuss noise cameras so we can see if it’s a route we want to go down.”

Cheshire East Council announced last Wednesday that extra signage would be installed at all the roundabouts on the link road, as well as additional street lighting, to “further improve safety”.

Temporary traffic management will also be in place at the Dane Valley roundabout, which links to Barn Road.

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