Local Councillors Secure £45K Footpath Upgrade

Butt Lane Councillors inspect footpath 216 before upgrade works begin.

Butt Lane Councillors inspect footpath 216 before upgrade works begin.

Local Labour councillors hail success after securing £45,000 to upgrade public footpath 216 in Butt Lane.  The footpath is accessed from West Avenue and runs behind the houses of Church Street, finally exiting onto Congleton Road adjacent to St. Saviours Primary School. The improvement works will be funded by a Public Right of Way contribution from Taylor Wimpey. Taylor Wimpey’s contribution was secured through a section 106 agreement with Newcastle Borough Council.

It is understood that the works will be completed by contractors appointed by Staffordshire County Council and not housing developer, Taylor Wimpey. The contractor will begin work on the surfacing of the footpath on Monday 16th January.  The path will be temporarily closed for the duration of the works. Residents are politely asked to use other routes until the works are completed.

Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “I welcome the news that this footpath will finally be brought up to a decent standard.  Back in 2013, Sylvia and I raised the alarm about the state the public footpath had been left in following the development of Bluebell Croft.  The footpath in question has been used for many years by local residents as a safer route to school and for recreational purposes.  I am pleased we have been listened to on this matter and finally this 106 agreement will deliver for local people.  It’s about time our local area gets the investment it deserves and we will fight for more.”

Councillor Sylvia Dymond added: “Many residents have been calling for an improvement to the footpath, including those that have moved onto the new estate.  Local people have endured two years of problems with fencing, building work and a muddy overgrown footpath so this news is well received.  At last we have a safer route for everyone to reach the local school, shops and to just enjoy a walk.”

Footpath 216 begins on West Avenue and leads all the way up to Congleton Road.

Footpath 216 begins on West Avenue and leads all the way up to Congleton Road.

Neglected Crash Barriers Put Residents at Risk

Councillor Kyle Robinson inspects damaged and broken crash barriers on Congleton Road, Butt Lane.

Councillor Kyle Robinson inspects damaged and broken crash barriers on Congleton Road, Butt Lane.

Councillor Kyle Robinson is calling on Staffordshire County Council Highways department to fix damaged crash barriers in the Butt Lane ward located on Congleton Road and Fourth Avenue.  Some of the damaged barriers were reported months ago and have yet to be fixed.  Highways officers also highlighted in an email that repairing the barriers were not a priority in certain locations, even at a school entrance.  There have been several accidents at both locations in recent months and residents are furious that the Council is failing to take their concerns seriously.  The crash barriers were put in place to protect pedestrians walking past busy junctions which are also known to be crash hot spots.

Kyle said: “I reported the damaged barriers outside of the school entrance on Fourth Avenue nearly 12 months ago and the County Council has still done nothing to repair them.  I am particularly concerned that damaged barriers at a school entrance are not seen as a priority.  Well over 400 school children use Fourth Avenue each morning to access The Kings School.  I think the safety of our kids should always be a top priority and I call on Staffordshire County Council to get their act together and fix these barriers as a matter of urgency.  The regularly damaged barriers on the Congleton Road Junction with Cedar Avenue is further evidence that this particular stretch of road is dangerous and a thorough traffic survey is required.”

Local resident, Helen Chadwick said: “The barriers were installed to protect people walking past busy junctions.  The barriers on Fourth Avenue are near to a school entrance and I dread to think what could happen should a car hit the already damaged and weakened barriers.  The County Council should fix the problem without question or further delay.”

Crash barriers at both sites have been re-reported and reference numbers have been obtained.  Any updates received regarding future repairs will be published here for information.

Sneak Peek of future Kidsgrove Railway Station Improvements

The Department of Transport has confirmed that long-awaited plans for improvements to Kidsgrove Railway Station are set to go ahead on schedule.  Local residents have been campaigning for years to secure improvements, including a new pedestrian bridge and lift, in order to improve transport networks in the town.  Construction could now begin as early as April next year.  This decision also means that third party funding for a new car park and transport interchange will likely remain secure.

Ruth Smeeth MP, who has been working with the campaign and who recently met with the Transport Minister to lobby him on the issue, has welcomed the news.

Ruth said : “It’s absolutely brilliant news that these works finally have the all clear.  Kidsgrove station is a vital transport hub for the community and these improvements will be a big boost.  I had a productive meeting with the Transport Minister where we discussed the potential benefits of these renovations.  I’m delighted that he has recognised the value that this investment will bring.  This is the culmination of many years of hard work from so many local residents, Councillors and community organisations who have been advocating for these works for a long, long time.”

Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “When we launched our ‘bridge to equality’ petition in September 2013, we had everything crossed and hoped that the Government would listen.  After a lot of lobbying from our MP and members of the community, we are finally moving forward.  Almost £4 Million will be invested into this scheme and Kidsgrove will have a modern transport hub fit for the 21st Century.”

Kyle added: “While this is all very positive news I was disappointed to learn that the Department of Transport announced Kidsgrove will lose its direct service to London.  This will mean that passengers travelling to London from Kidsgrove will need to change over at Stoke or Stafford stations.  However, Kidsgrove will gain a new direct service to Birmingham New Street which opens our area up to jobs in that region.  It is important that all our local representatives continue to lobby the Department for Transport for the best possible deal for the people of Kidsgrove.”

Thank you to East Midlands Trains and Network Rail for allowing us to share this video with the public.