A Letter from Nantwich

September 2010                                   Updated November 2011, etc: Not so bad after all | Completed Greenway officially opened

Will it be a red light for the Greenway?

MAKE an effort to take a look for yourself at these scenes along the Barony and Beam Street because if I have read the plan correctly they are about to disappear under a Crewe-to-Nantwich Greenway.

   That is, a three-metre-wide surfaced path running from the west side of Crewe to Nantwich Town Centre which is part of a 50 million nationwide programme to provide safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists. Surfaced, presumably, in Tarmacadam - so not really a green way!

   I have at least two thoughts on this. First, given that the Greenway paths are virtually wider versions of the current footpaths, why spend 1.5 million so that cyclists can ride along them. Many adult cyclists already ride on the current footpaths at no additional cost to the local authorities - apart from wear and tear, of course.

   And pedestrians who have encountered cyclists sharing their route will not wish to be part of the new Greenways which, being wider, will simply mean that law-avoiding cyclists will simply ride faster along them.

   Secondly, at three metres wide the new pathway will clearly wipe out established green areas - flowerbeds, hedges and trees, as seen on this page, according to my calculations. Hedges and trees are not indicated on the map which was part of a letter from Cheshire East Council's Highway Operations department in Crewe to local residents in mid September. There, for all to see, is the Greenway (actually grey on the map) and proposed verges and embankments about which it seems to wander. The Greenway/verges are shown going round Barony Park on the Middlewich Road, Barony Road and Park View sides. The letter refers to "sections of the Barony Park" although the coloured line is continuous. 

   The new structure also runs along Beam Street and a short stretch of Barony Road on one side of Coronation Gardens (see footnote) which is currently a normal footpath. The area coloured grey and green doesn't seem any wider than the aforementioned footpath.

   I wait with interest to see the rest of the route to the town centre - mainly because there isn't anywhere wide enough for a three-metre-

 

A floral bed on Barony Road. Will this disappear with the arrival of the Greenway?

wide pathway. The 50 million that will finance Greenways all over the UK will come from something called "Connect2" - funded by Sustrans, The Big Lottery, North West   Development Agency and Cycle for England. Apparently viewers of an ITV programme voted for the Greenways to get the award.

   Phase 1 - from Queen's Park, Crewe, to Wistaston Green Road - is under construction, we are told.

  

LAST April, an article in The Nantwich Link (a free monthly magazine circulated to all homes), written by someone at Nantwich Town Council, was bemoaning the fact that Cheshire East Council hadn't given the

 

 

 go-ahead  for crossing points on the Crewe to Nantwich Greenway - one  of three in Cheshire. If the council didn't do so by April 12 the 1.5 million part of the grant wouldn't be coming our way after all, it said. 

    The crossing points on the Nantwich end of the

Greenway, which look like pedestrian islands in the middle of the road on the map with the council's letter, are on The Barony and Middlewich Road near to Sainsbury's. There will also be a "traffic signal controlled crossing point" across Nantwich by-pass near the supermarket.

   Presumably, Cheshire East Council gave the necessary permission before the deadline.

 

An area of land by any other name . . .

CORONATION Gardens? Queen's Gardens? Volunteer Fields? Over the years, I have used all three names for the area of land at the Barony end of Beam Street. In the 2010 Nantwich Food and Drink Festival the area was called Volunteer Fields. That, to me, is the road that runs at right angles to Beam Street.

   I think the truth is that the circular garden area surrounded by hedges and trees in the middle of the grassed area is Coronation Gardens (also called Queen's Gardens in some publications).

   And I think the whole area is - or was - Volunteer Fields where local people massed to enlist to fight Napoleon. It would be logical for the road to be named after the field(s).

   A further question. Which Queen is commemorated by the garden area? Queen Elizabeth II or Queen Victoria? I must try to find out.

PICTURES: Left, Trees near to the sports complex. Right: The proposed route of the Greenway on the edge of Coronation Gardens in Beam Street.

 

 

Public conveniences in Barony Road (one of only two still open in town) seem to be on the way out.

See Toilets closed

A narrow verge and a hedge between Barony Road and Barony Park

The floral display in Barony Road in July 2013. After several days of blazing sunshine the grass is going yellow 

  UPDATE  FROM JUNE 2009

Assurances on the impact of the Greenway

PERHAPS my worries about the Crewe and Nantwich Greenway were a little unfounded. The hedge along the boundaries of the Barony Park and the public toilets in the area are not, it seems, at risk after all.

   Although the Greenway was flagged as being three metres wide, and the initial plans seemed to indicate that was from the back edge of the present footpath, I have been assured that the route of the new pedestrian and cycle route is flexible.

   For instance, it will go on the park side of the hedges, leaving them intact. Also, as it passes the public toilets, its width will vary from the aforementioned three metres so that it fits between the toilets and the courts that are part of the sports complex. The toilets will not have to be demolished.

   In fact, the Greenway will not always hug the edge of the road. When it goes past Alvaston Hall Hotel it will deviate from Middlewich Road and go around the edge of the fields immediately in front of the hotel. That will add an extra minute to the journey of cyclists I was assured by a charming young lady at the information event at the

 

Barony Park Sports Complex on October 14, 2009. There was a lot of interest shown in the maps and plans on display in the small room at the front of the complex. Work has already started on "elements 1 and 2" of the Greenway route next to Queen's Park and the King George V Playing Fields in Crewe.

   A leaflet (entitled "Connect 2") published by Cheshire East Council says: "The remaining elements are at the planning stage and it is anticipated that the work will be completed by November 2011."  [It was actually March 2013].

  

A FEATURE of the scheme is a portrait bench which will have cut-out metal figures standing next to it. These, says the leaflet, "can represent local icons, Cheshire characters, historical figures or workers in local industries."

   Just who will be chosen is up to local people, we are assured. Comments about what "the bench should symbolise" are being welcomed.

 Greenway confrontation | Toilets closed | Letters index page

 

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