Middlewich Eastern Bypass

Cheshire East lines up amended CPO plan for bypass

Neil Tague

Local sign-off is sought for orders to enable the long-awaited Middlewich Eastern bypass, which will then go to the Department for Transport for final approval.

Long regarded as a critical piece of infrastructure for the borough, the bypass’s construction will require the assembly of 129 acres, with 21 freeholds and 14 leaseholds affected.

Planning permission was secured in 2019 for the 2.6km bypass, setting in motion the approval by Cheshire East’s cabinet approving CPO powers and a side road order, as advanced in 2020, this summer.

However, it was subsequently noted that that order did not include a Bridge Scheme, to allow a highway bridge to be erected over the Trent & Mersey Canal, leading to the orders being withdrawn in September.

The CPO plan, side road order and bridge scheme will now be examined by Cheshire East’s highways & transport committee at its meeting on 9 December, with officers hoping for sign-off ahead of submission to the Department for Transport.

As the report for committee sets out, the council’s overall expenditure on the project is expected to be £74m. The medium-term financial strategy makes provision for this, earmarking £25.5m in the approved capital programme.

The remaining £48.5m is to come from the DfT’s ”Large Local Majors” grant funding programme, the project’s outline business case being accepted in 2017 for this status.

Although the council is having to pay its £25.5m share now, it has already made back £7.8m in Section 106 developer contributions, the report said.

CPO powers will be used as a last resort, said officers – the council has initiated discussions with landowners to acquire by agreement where possible, but recognises it may need to wield compulsory purchase to make such a wide-ranging land assembly programme come together.

Only one residential property needs to be bought, and this has been achieved through negotiation.

The highways committee is asked to approve the draft scheme, side road orders and bridge scheme and rubber-stamp the submission of a full business case to the DfT, as well as authorising local officers to press on with preparing land assembly.

The bypass scheme involves the construction of a new single carriageway road, following a north-south alignment to the east of Middlewich, providing a new route between the A54 Holmes Chapel Road and the A533 Booth Lane to the south of Middlewich.

Apart from a small section extending into Cheshire West & Chester’s remit, it is located within Cheshire East’s boundaries.

As well as alleviating pressure on the town, the bypass project underpins the area’s contribution to the Local Plan, opening up sites that will make up a significant portion of the 173 acres of employment land Middlewich is expected to provide.

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Welcome the bypass, but I’m sure it won’t work well enough. Doesn’t most of the traffic drive through Middlewich to gain access to Winsford?

By Mike Sproston

So not a bypass but a development access road then ;-)

By Disgruntled Goat

And what happens when the bypass inevitably becomes congested? Another bypass? What about when that one becomes congested? What was it Einstein said about insanity…

By Anonymous

Long overdue, it will be very welcome.

By Sue Bailey