So who is responsible for the lane?








Monk's Lane towards Churchyardside

Jeff Stubbs writes:

NANTWICH Civic Society members have been concerned about the poor state of Monk's Lane for a long time. The lane is such a cherished historic pathway, with its own special character. We cannot think of it being left to go to rack and ruin.

   As Chairman, I entered into a succession of e-mails with the Cheshire East Highways Department., ending with the latest information from them that "Monks Lane is not an adopted highway. It is a footway that leads from South Crofts to Churchyardside."

   The information goes on: "Adopted highways are maintainable at the public expense, they are constructed and maintained to a specification issued by the Highway Authority. Unadopted highways are where people have the right to pass and re-pass, and has to only be to a standard that is passable (Highways Act 1980)."

   The unusual block paviours (right and below) are loose in many sections now, so it won't be long before someone picks a few up and throws them around, revealing lovely muddy holes for people to trip over.

   The surface is getting more dangerous by the week.    

   I have been corresponding with Amy Rushton, Public Rights of Way Manager of Cheshire East Council, who told me: "The route was never made-up to an adoptable standard by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, thus it was never legally adopted and thus not maintained by Area Highways."

   She added that she had discovered that "Direct Services at CNBC used to maintain the route though there was never any dedicated budget for it." 

 She had also been informed that the land was not owned by Cheshire East Council and said she would find out if it was registered as a landowner "has legal responsibility for the route." 

   In earlier correspondence, Amy told me "the Public Rights of Way Team maintains only those public rights of way which are recorded on the Definitive Map


and Statement. Furthermore, of these recorded routes we do not maintain the urban surfaced ones. Maintenance responsibilities for these fall to the relevant Area Highways Team."

   She also told me: "Monk's Lane is not a recorded public right of way, but it is clearly an urban surfaced route which I would have expected the Area Highways Team to maintain." 

   I first contacted Cheshire East Council in early January asking them to inspect the surface of Monk's Lane and carry out repairs to the block paviours which were wobbly and not flush. I said they were something of a danger, especially to old and infirm people, many of whom use it to walk into town.

   Monk's Lane is an urban footpath and had been a public footpath for centuries. There is a "No Cycling" sign at the Churchyardside end which is an indication of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's jurisdiction over the lane. The paviours are old and must be retained and re-used at all costs.

   The lane is in the Conservation Area and flanked by listed buildings.     

   I wonder if any visitors to "A Dabber's Nantwich" website can shed any light on whether the council is correct in disclaiming their responsibility of maintaining the surface of Monks lane?


lFOOTNOTE: For several weeks, the lane was unpleasant to walk along as the starlings that invaded the town recently seem to have roosted in some of the trees in adjacent Dysart Buildings, leaving an unpleasant carpet of stinking bird droppings. They appear to have moved on and the lane is returning to its normal state.


UPDATE 2017: Since this item was written the lane's surface has been relaid several times giving it a much better appearance and making it safer.  

Nantwich Civic Society pages index | Update | A Letter from Nantwich mentioning Monk's Lane

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