The ‘misunderstanding’ over Crewe’s lengthy road closure around Leighton Hospital

A statement has been issued as a number of improvements have been made

There is a misunderstanding over the contentious lengthy roadworks programme around Leighton Hospital in Crewe, says the Cheshire East Labour group. They say that the misconception is that the roads will be closed for 80 weeks, but argue that in reality there is an 80-week rolling programme of work.

The response comes as emergency ambulances have been given permission to use Pyms Lane to access Leighton Hospital in Crewe while Middlewich Road is closed, after an ambulance was forced to U-turn when trying to find a way to the hospital. Ward councillor Connor Naismith (Lab) said a number of improvements have already been made to help people impacted by the lengthy road closure.

This follows criticism from residents, hospital workers and Conservative councillors about the lengthy diversion route and delays caused. Pyms Lane was closed permanently in 2020 when Bentley Motors expanded its campus.

It is still closed to the public and is gated off but the Crewe West councillor said ambulances can use it. “I am confident that the highways team are looking for ways to mitigate the impact on residents and we have already seen some of that with improved signage, changes to the closures and opening Pyms Lane for ambulances,” Cllr Naismith.

“We are looking to improve communications and I think steps are being taken to ensure that happens.” Highways improvements around the north of Crewe have been planned for some time to reduce congestion.

In a statement, Labour says this will cause disruption while the works are being undertaken. “There is a misunderstanding that the roads are being closed for 80 weeks – in fact there is a rolling programme over 80 weeks,” said the statement.

“Cheshire East Council has been working with Leighton Hospital to ensure safe ambulance routes are maintained and the hospital were consulted and have not raised concerns about ambulance routes.” The councillors said several suggestions had already been made for improvements to signage and if anyone would like to make positive suggestions then these can be implemented.

Labour group leader Sam Corcoran said: “Rather than raise their concerns about highways at the highways and transport committee, the Conservatives decided to talk about roadworks at the council’s audit and governance committee. It seems they just want to play party politics rather than actually resolving issues affecting residents.”

He added: “Under the Conservatives, a backlog of highways maintenance of well over £100m was allowed to develop and they ducked difficult decisions. The Conservatives just let the highways network fall apart. Now the Labour-led administration is trying to take action. Although the council has agreed to borrow £19m to invest in highways maintenance, the government has cut highways maintenance funding. We really need the government to fix our funding to fix our roads.”

Crewe East councillor Joy Bratherton (Lab) said, “These plans have been known about for some time – why are Conservatives only raising concerns now? There were briefings held recently to provide information about the road closures but none of the three Conservative councillors who have signed an open letter attended the briefing.

“While the Conservatives seek to play party politics, the Labour-led administration is taking action to improve the road system. We recognise that there will be disruption in the short term and we apologise for that disruption but it is necessary in order to provide long term gain.”


Belinda RyanLocal Democracy Reporter
  • 05:25, 14 JUN 2022

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