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Councillor Blog - Louise Gittins - July 2019

Published: 15th July 2019 09:51

Cllr Louise Gittins has been out and about in Little Neston and Ness, from where she reports in her latest blog for AboutMyArea.

Since I was first elected as a councillor I've always carried out regular ward walks, and thought I wouldn't waste any time after the elections in May.

During June I was out and about with officers from Street Care and Highways in both Little Neston and Ness. It's a great opportunity for officers to see some of the issues that residents raise and the big subject on everyone's minds at the moment is weeds, weeds and more weeds!

Councillor Blog - Louise Gittins - July 2019From Cheshire West and Chester Council, L-R Karl Farrow (Highways), Graham Jones and Kerrie Leonard (StreetCare) Dale Jones (Localities).

I think the nice weather in spring and then all the rain in the last month or so has caused our lovely area to become more and more jungle-like every day.  I've actually given up on my own garden.

However, it's important that as a council we keep the area looking good. On my walkabouts we identified a number of both highways and streetcare issues which have been dealt with. I took some photos which are shown here, including some fly tipping on Mill Lane Ness. One of our response team was in the area so could come and pick this up by the time we had finished.

Councillor Blog - Louise Gittins - July 2019Fly tipping picked up from Mill Lane.

On one of the walks I had the opportunity to talk to Karl Farrow, from Highways, about the work of his team.
He told me Cheshire West and Chester's Highway network is by far the Council's most valuable asset and is currently valued in excess of £5 billion. Our assets include 76000 gullies, 108 pedestrian crossings, 139 Traffic Signal junctions, 44000 street lights, 392 Bridges and Structures, 112 historic structures, 4902 illuminated signs and bollards and 1280m of Public Rights of Way. It is not just about roads, as we look after 28 000 trees (outside of woodland areas) and it has been calculated that to replace all these from a health and wellbeing perspective would cost £7 billion.

Councillor Blog - Louise Gittins - July 2019Kerrie Leonard and one of her new response team for StreetCare.

I asked Karl how many footways and roads do the council look after: he explained that they maintain a total of 2648km of footways and 2278km of carriageway which is enough to stretch from Chester to Rome.

Karl is the Area Engineer for Chester and Ellesmere Port, and he said: "I manage a team responsible for the western half of the Borough's highways and we carry out day-to-day operations to maintain our highways assets and keep traffic moving. My team is split into three areas Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston and Rural South. Each includes a Principal Engineer, Engineer, Network Stewards, Safety Inspectors, PRoW (public rights of way) Officers and Tree Officers."

I asked him about how queries from residents and councillors were followed up, he told me: "Each year Highways receive around 37,500 enquiries from the public, parish councillors, developers, stake holders, utility companies and your local Councillor.

"The team are responsible for investigating each enquiry, taking appropriate action and responding back to the customer. Our Safety Inspectors carry out regular inspections of all parts of the highway to ensure the highway is safe for the travelling public.

"Last financial year we treated 493,972 square metres of highway, which is enough to re surface Anfield football ground 72 times."

I asked about Bull Hill (I showed him this too) which is the most talked about pot-holey road in Little Neston. Karl assured me it's on the list for resurfacing this financial year. I told him he would get a regular nudge from me about this road until it was fixed.

I also met separately with highways officers to look at safety issues around the bottom of Marshlands Road and Quayside and I'm waiting to get feedback following a subsequent visit from the road safety team.

I've also held two market stall sessions with Justin Madders MP and one of the queries I had there was why traffic sometimes get stuck on a red light at the end of Leighton Road on Park Street. I've had this response:

"Guidance on using the Traffic Signals junction at Park Street / High Street / Raby Road /, Neston.

When driving south on Park Street and you wish to turn right onto High Street by the traffic signal junction next to the Methodist Church and Community Centre and the signals are on red, please ensure that your vehicle is stopped over the detector loop highlighted yellow below.

Councillor Blog - Louise Gittins - July 2019

Stopping and waiting short of this detector loop, will mean that the Traffic Signals have no way of knowing that you are there and will not change to green.

By stopping your vehicle over this loop, or being very close to it, will tell the Traffic Signal control box, to change the signals to green at the next available opportunity."

I'll be doing some more ward walks in the Autumn focusing on the Greenfields Road area particularly. My next blog will be about grass verges and wild flowers.

If any one wants to get in touch please do: louise.gittins@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

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