Last week George Osborne visited Sandbach to laud the amount of new housing being built. When queried over the lack of a Local Plan giving developers too much power over where to build houses, George Osborne said “we’ve got to make sure those homes are being built”. Just one of the problems being caused by the speculative house building allowed and encouraged by government policy is traffic congestion. Sandbach has seen a big rise in traffic delays recently. As a local councillor I will be talking with other Sandbach councillors to see what can be done about lorries parking up on local roads near to housing sites at 7.50am, about refuse collections going on in roadworks during rush hour and other issues that could help traffic flow.
However, as yet more houses are built, traffic problems are likely to get worse. This week the closure of the Crewe-Wilmslow rail line will add to the commuter misery. In January local Labour councillors suggested several contingency measures during the rail closure. Sadly the suggestions that involved privatised rail companies working together in a coherent way have not been adopted. Even the simple suggestion of a fast bus to Manchester Airport (for onward trains to Manchester) has not been implemented.
If we are to tackle traffic congestion (and climate change) then public transport has an important role to play. Can we have back the early service Crewe-Sandbach-Holmes Chapel-Manchester Airport to serve the European business flights which generally need you at check-in around 0600? An additional fast train into Manchester for commuters would also be welcome and would reduce overcrowding.
Such problems can be addressed by proper local and national government planning. However, if we rely on market forces and profit motive, then traffic chaos is inevitable.