Agenda item

Public Speaking Time/Open Session

In accordance the Council Procedural Rules, a total period of 30 minutes is allocated for members of the public to speak at Council meetings. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 2 minutes, but the Chair will have discretion to vary this requirement where they consider it appropriate. 


Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting and should include the question with that notice.  Questions should be submitted to: or


Annabelle and Bella, Year 5 Pupils from Mossley Primary School, Congleton, spoke in relation to safer walking to school and requested that consideration be given to either installing a pedestrian or zebra crossing or appointing a Lollipop Lady, on Leek Road, Congleton. They stated that those who crossed the road to get to school and home felt that the road was very busy, very dangerous and took a long time to cross. They s requested that measures were put in place to ensure children and adults crossing the road felt safe.


In response, Councillor C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, congratulated both Annabelle and Bella for addressing Members and the efforts undertaken to gather evidence to support the request for a better crossing.  Councillor Browne confirmed that he would ask officers responsible for Safe Travel to Schools to investigate the issue further and that officers contact the school to ensure both Annabelle and Bella be involved in discussions to identify a solution to help children to carry on walking to school safely. Councillor Browne reminded all Members that the Council’s updated Pedestrian Crossings Strategy was out for consultation until 10 March and encouraged Members and residents to respond via the Council’s consultation webpage.


Mr Richard Slater spoke in relation to the Broken Cross Junction, Macclesfield, and expressed his concerns in relation to the incomplete works. Mr Slater highlighted that it had been 75 weeks since improvements started and 52 weeks since contractors had left the junction with the works unfinished, leaving the junction dangerous for residents.  Mr Slater asked questions relating to the lack of reference to the Tesco Express in outline planning permission, the outstanding 20 safety issues, the width of lanes on Chelford Road, positioning of arrows and lack of pedestrian crossing signals.


In response, Councillor M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee, stated that the highways work at Broken Cross were substantially completed, and the Council had now received a request from Bellway Homes for works to go ahead between 1 – 12 April, to address the outstanding matters concerning the highways safety audit. Councillor Warren undertook to provide a written response to Mr Slaters additional questions.


Ms Laura Turner addressed the Council in relation to the Council’s budgetary position. Ms Turner queried if Cheshire East would have the same level of budget pressures if sound financial decisions and rigid financial management had taken place over the last three years. Ms Turner felt that the Council’s reporting of setting a balanced 4-year budget was misleading for residents as it failed to reference underfunding, inflation, SEND costs and loan interest rates, leading to a false sense of security for members of the public and service users. She highlighted that member allowances increases caused further concern amongst local residents and it was asked why new innovative ways of working had not been put forward sooner.


In response, Councillor S Corcoran stated that he recognised the problems at Middlewich Town Council since Labour lost control 2 years ago. The precept had been increased by 39.5% making it only second to Nantwich with the highest council tax in Cheshire East. Councillor Corcoran gave examples of positive news within Middlewich such as the funding provided for the Middlewich Eastern Bypass and Leadsmithy Street schemes.


Ms Laura Turner spoke also on behalf of Ms Maggie Robinson in relation to the Middlewich Eastern Bypass and asked if this would be completed by Summer 2025 and highlighted the positive benefits this would have on the Middlewich and for local residents. Ms Turner, on behalf of Ms Robinson, also queried S106 and Section 278 monies and how much Middlewich was owed. She stated that this information should be made available on the Council website. She asked about the future leisure facilities in Middlewich and the transfer of assets to the Town Council.


In response, Councillor C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, confirmed that Cheshire East had submitted the full business case for the Middlewich Eastern Bypass to the Department of Transport (DfT) following approval at the September 2023 meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee. Councillor Browne stated that the Council was awaiting final funding approval, and this needed to be in place prior to the grant being released and construction contacts commenced. The DfT had been made fully aware of the impact that any delay of funding would have. Councillor Browne stated that it was the Council’s intention to open to road in 2026, however this was dependent on any further delays to the DfT’s decision.


Councillor M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee, confirmed that S106 updates had been provided to local ward Councillors and Town Councillors in Middlewich, and that over £7m had been committed to the Middlewich Eastern Bypass. He also confirmed that the business case for leisure facilities to be built at Sutton Lane, Middlewich, was no longer viable due to high interest rates and the difficult financial position facing the local authority. There were therefore no plans to move forward with its construction.


Councillor Lawerence Clarke spoke on behalf of Poynton Town Council in relation to the proposed temporary closure of the Poynton Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC). Councillor Clarke highlighted that any closure would deprive local residents of a well-used community asset, affecting approx. 25,000 individuals. He stated that the HWRC MTFS budget proposal had received negative feedback and asked why the Council was still progressing with this proposal. He felt that the temporary closure would lead to less recycling, more fly tipping, congestion on road, air pollution and costs and urged Members to reconsider this proposal.


In response, Councillor M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee, confirmed that mitigation options were being explored which included the introduction of a mobile HWRC provision. He stated that this would be undertaken on a trial basis, the results of which would inform future, more permanent provision. The recommendations following the trial would be presented to the Environment and Communities Committee later in 2024 and that the details of how the mobile service would operate remained in development.


Councillor Andy Lindsay, Chair of Brereton Parish Council, spoke in relation to the Electoral Review Warding Proposals. Councillor Lindsay urged Members to reconsider the proposals put forward to split the Brereton Ward with Dane Valley and highlighted the detrimental impact this would have on community identify. Councillor Lindsay stated that the proposals also did not align with the objectives of the boundary review.