A Letter from Nantwich

Originally written in June 2007  

Re-written and updated in August 2014

Shake-up the signs not the buildings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road traffic signs on the Acton side of the aqueduct in Welsh Row / Chester Road were made confusing back in 2007 by hedges which needed cutting. Was this, I wondered, the reason why heavy traffic still lumbered down Welsh Row shaking the very foundations of the old buildings?

 

Also, Welsh Row is straight on and not to the right. But - as indicated by the (hidden) house symbol - Welsh Row in this case was the name of the new housing development to the right.

 

The road to the right is actually now called Turner Drive. 

 

The pictures were, of course, taken in 2007 and there are different signs in place now (see below).

 

 

New footbridge constructed in housing estate roadway (this page).

 

 

 

   Changes made at the junction - as at 2014

IT can often be the case that given time situations can improve -and here is a case in point.

   A new sign (right) in the same hedge as the one above is much simpler. This is as in 2014 but it had been added earlier

   Traffic is now directed to take the left turn on to the inner ring road and only heavy vehicles are banned from entering Welsh Row.

   Mind you, any cars, etc, going straight ahead have to deal with traffic calming measures (see this letter).

   A new footpath has been constructed under the aqueduct (on the left of the road - behind the keep right sign). But the four roads get the green light (literally) one at a time, not in two pairs as seen in the picture above, so there's no problem.  

Facelift for aqueduct

Residents' concern about buildings being shaken by through traffic

WHEN I first wrote this Letter from Nantwich in 2007, I said that for the best part of 10 years, residents of Welsh Row - one of the town's oldest roads - had been expressing concern about the damage being done to the ancient, listed buildings in the thoroughfare by passing traffic.

   Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's highways committee recently approved a 500,000 scheme (see below right, in the next item) to improve the road - and keep heavy vehicles away - subject to public consultation.

 

   The picture at the top of the page is roughly the view that drivers of vehicles got of signs near to the

aqueduct (carrying the Shropshire Union Canal over one of two roads from Chester to Nantwich - the A51). The signs were meant to divert them on to the new extension of the town's inner ring road, the Waterlode. But while drivers heading for Wrenbury, Whitchurch and Audlem got a good idea of where they were supposed to going, anyone else -  going to Crewe, the Potteries and all points south, etc - might have thought the road ahead was the one to take, as they had no signs telling them otherwise.

  

 

   It could be argued that the road to the left was represented by a thicker road and although complete with a 90-degrees turn was the main route.

   The (narrower) road to Wrenbury is, in fact, a right turn not too far ahead  which means that some of the street's

buildings were saved from being shaken so much.  

   The few visible words "Centre traffic" and "new road" were not clear as an instruction to turn left. Of course, if you were stopped by the traffic lights at the junction ahead - and happened to stop next to the signs (top, right) - you would know that town centre traffic should take the new road.

Traffic should have been diverted around town before it got anywhere near the junction

I FEEL that traffic from the Chester direction wanting to get to Crewe, the Potteries and points south, etc, should be diverted on to the "outer ring road" - the A51 Chester to Stone road - at Burford Crossroads, the junction with the A534 Nantwich to Wrexham road, before it got anywhere near the road junction at the aqueduct.

    There is no mention of a ring road or a by pass at the Burford Crossroads - just a clear sign to Nantwich straight on (via the village of Acton on the A51).

   Of course, there are other roads from which traffic could have emerged and still ended up at the aqueduct, but fewer vehicles would have been involved.

   If, at Burford Crossroads, the A534, through Reaseheath, was shown as a by-pass - and as a shorter route than going through Acton and Nantwich - lot of heavy traffic which isn't aiming for Nantwich could get to its destination without shaking the town about. 

   Even when traffic correctly uses the new inner ring road, it will circumnavigate Welsh Row but will still emerge in the centre of town, next to the River Weaver bridge, and have to continue through the town centre (three routes according to where the drivers are going) to reach the destinations.

   There is a four-way system in operation at the river bridge traffic lights. By that I mean, the four roads get the green light one at a time.

 

   The usual pattern at many other junctions is that the lights let traffic proceed in two directions (north and south or east and west) at the same time. Even if one lane might be delayed in getting the green light to allow for traffic turning right or left first.

   You can wait quite a while for your turn to come round in the current set up, and that is without pedestrians getting their chance to cross - when all four lanes are halted.

 

ONE good thing about the new proposals was that they did not include an idea to make Welsh Row one-way, which would have caused enormous problems for locals (not to mention the extra petrol used and greenhouse gasses emitted driving around the area to the new road, and driving back into town).

   That plan was rejected by a council committee. 

 

SOME years ago, there was a plan to close Welsh Row and make Chester Road and the two new roads into a T-junction. That would certainly have stopped traffic using Welsh Row.

   But we Dabbers said a firm No to the idea and it was dropped.

   One argument that could have swayed the decision was that there might have been accidents involving drivers suddenly being confronted with a dead end.

 

Half million pounds scheme for the road

 

A HALF-A-MILLION pound scheme for the street - which was announced in April 2007 - would include:

  • better signing to send traffic into town via the new road;

  • road narrowing near Malbank School on the other side of the junction, as well at Marsh Lane and Queen's Drive further on;

  • footpath widening (the same effect if not the same thing as road narrowing?) outside the school and the St Anne's Lane junction, further on again;

  • parking bays between Marsh Lane and St Anne's Lane; and

  • a 7.5 tonnes weight limit - except for access.

How the scheme looked on completion

A way through - but not for traffic - between two roads in the vicinity

THERE was a request to the borough council's highways committee for the completion of a road through to Marsh Lane.

  That would have taken it along Taylor Drive - except that it ended in a cul-de-sac (picture immediately right) formed by trees, especially the large one in the middle of the picture.

   Pedestrians could get round the barrier by crossing a stream  (pictured left) - after carefully making their way down the bank of the stream!

   Taylor Drive could have come out in Marsh Lane if it wasn't for the blockage. What would be the continuation of the road is called Edmund Wright Way which is the road in the pictures far right.

    I get the impression that the original idea for the roads might have been a single road from Welsh Row to Marsh Lane - until, possibly, it was decided that too much traffic would use the road which emerges on a blind corner in Marsh Lane.

   Indeed, a map produced by the old Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council in the early 2000s shows the (now) two roads as a single route called Edmund Wright Way, with no obstruction. Taylor Drive isn't mentioned.

 

UPDATE 2014: I hadn't been to the road for several years and then I saw that a pedestrian way had been created through the barrier (lower pictures).

 

The top two pictures show the tree and bushes creating a cul-de-sac at the far end of Taylor Drive (left) and, on the opposite side, a bend in Edmund Wright Way (right) in 2007.  Below them in matching pictures (taken in 2014) is a neat pathway through the former obstruction. This was done around 2012, I'm told.

   I'm also told by a former resident that the stream under the footbridge is the water flowing from the Dorfold Hall Estate on the other side of the Shropshire Union Canal. This is carried under the canal embankment by a culvert which can be seen from the footbridge, before flowing into town and ending in the vicinity of the Malbank School and Sixth Form College.

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