Council calls for action on Monk's Lane







White spray paint markings on the paviours in Monk's Lane showing one of the areas in need of repair. 

HOPES that work will start soon on resetting the paviours in Monks Lane have been raised by white spray paint marks at various points along the footpath.

    They were first noticed on the weekend of May 15/16 - the day after a communication from Nantwich Town Council to Cheshire East Council.

    Councillor Christine Farrall, one of two representatives of Nantwich Town Council on Nantwich Civic Society, raised the state of the footpath at the Annual Town Meeting and Council. The Minutes of that meeting record that she said the route had previously been maintained by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council (CNBC) "but Cheshire East (Council) were claiming that as their records did not show it as an adopted highway there was no obligation on them to repair or maintain it."

    After Town Councillors expressed concern at the "anomalous situation" they asked the Town Clerk to take it up with local Cheshire East Councillors.


THE official communication with Cheshire East Council pointed out that the "cobbled way" had been in existence for hundreds of years.  

    It cited Keith Burton, former Clerk of Nantwich Urban District Council and for many years the Director of Amenities for Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, as confirming that Nantwich U.D.C. and then CNBC maintained and repaired Monks Lane as an urban passageway for many years.

    The Town Council's letter claimed that there was "de facto" adoption, asserting that "the U.D.C. and CNBC took it upon themselves to keep it in repair and have established a liability to maintain it. NBC acted as agent for the Highway Authority for many years." 

   The no-nonsense missive said "common sense would dictate that this is a route which should be maintained by the local highway authority.  It is not in the same class as a passage between two sets of houses used mainly by the householders or a footpath in the countryside.  It is an ancient and well-known right of way, used regularly


by the public, close to an historic terrace of listed buildings (Dysart Buildings)."   

    The letter also points out that "since the roadway was in existence before 1835 it is 'automatically' maintainable at public expense under the Highways Act 1835."

    The footpath was in an urban setting, close to a group of houses specifically restricted to occupation by the over 55s, said the letter, and regularly used by residents and visitors to the town. "It would be reasonable to expect it to be safe and attractive."

Remedial works would not be very costly at this stage but were necessary, it concluded. 


Civic Society Chairman, Jeff Stubbs, commented:

"I walked down Monk's Lane to see all the maintenance markings. There is quite a lot - so we await Cheshire East's recognition, formally, that it is their responsibility after all.

   "I knew that Cllr Farrall was raising the matter at Nantwich Town Council as we had discussed Monk's Lane at the Executive meeting of the Civic Society earlier.

    "Chris is an excellent member of both bodies. It shows how liaison between the two parties really works for the good of the town."


UPDATE (June): I see that the white markings have now disappeared from the surface of the lane. I wouldn't have thought that spray paint would be washed off by rain but, as the paviours are smooth I suppose it must be that they have been erased by the feet of the many users of Monk's Lane. Or does it indicate a change of mind by someone in Cheshire East Council about the work being done?



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