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Plans for £58 million Middlewich eastern bypass to be voted on

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 6:00am

By Jenny Bonson & Stephen Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors are set to vote on whether to approve plans for the long-awaited Middlewich eastern bypass.

Proposals for the £58 million road go before Cheshire East Council's strategic planning board later today (24 April). 

In a report released this week, officers said: “The proposed Middlewich eastern bypass is a key highway infrastructure project for CEC.

“The need for an eastern bypass of Middlewich has been acknowledged for many years, following the development of a scheme by Cheshire County Council in the early 1990s.

“Completion of the proposed bypass will provide traffic routes to avoid the town centre and enable access to the Midpoint 18 [MA6NITUDE] strategic employment site.”

The authority hopes that the 2.2km road, which would connect Booth Lane to the Salt Cellar roundabout on the A54, will lead to 6,500 jobs being created and 1,900 homes built.

Officers admit the scheme will have an impact on the environment and the canal conservation area, but insist the ‘public benefits of the road outweigh any harm’.

Middlewich Town Council is backing the plans, suggesting the single-carriageway road would help relieve congestion in town and be a ‘genuine force for regeneration’.

Moston Parish Council also supports the scheme, although it has concerns that Tetton Lane could be used by extra traffic once the road is built.

But while it understands the need for the bypass, Sandbach Town Council is objecting to the scheme over fears it will be built ‘at the expense of a detrimental effect’ on Sandbach’s congestion and air quality.

In October 2017, the Government announced it would provide £46.8 million towards the bypass, and the remainder of the project will be funded by up to five developer contributions, with CEC making up any shortfall.

Cheshire West and Chester Council will also need to grant permission for the scheme, with the road straddling the border of the two boroughs.

Balfour Beatty was appointed as the lead contractor for the scheme in January, and CEC hopes construction will begin in January 2021.

The council hopes the road will be complete by October 2023, subject to possible issues on compulsory purchases or funding arrangements.

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