More than most people in Whaley Bridge, mobilty scooter user Kath Thompson knows exactly what heavier traffic from a new housing estate joining Macclesfield Road would mean: even more curtailment of when she could safely go about her daily life.
Macclesfield Road is a dangerous hotch potch of pavements, becoming very narrow here and there and virtually disappearing in some places. There is nor room for Kath and her scooter and a pedestrian to pass,
Vehicles park partly on the pavement outside the owners’ houses, OK for keeping the traffic flowing, not OK for Kath if she needs to go into the village or travel back to her home near Taxal and Fernilee primary school.
At the Horwich End traffic lights, she has to perform a unique and dangerous manoeuvre to turn left at the White Horse pub. Still on the pavement, she has to wait for traffic lights to turn red for vehicles behind her, and then move off the pavement and into the roadway. She turns left to go into the village, or makes a diagonal crossing of the junction to reach the bank. Travelling, when she does the manoeuvre in reverse, she has to drive across what should be a line of waiting traffic. If that isn’t dangerous enough, a vehicle can sometimes jump the lights into her path.
Kath tries to avoid school starting times – either at Taxal and Fernilee near her home or Whaley Bridge Primary in the village. Cars dropping children sometimes park on pavements, blocking off the space she needs for the mobility scooter. Bin collection days are even more of a nightmare, with householders or refuse collectors leaving bins on the pavement.
Mother of three Kath uses a scooter because she has fibro mialgia, a muscular condition. She has three children, the youngest Shannon – ‘named after the river, not the airport’ – and is a grandmother of two.
Kath and Shannon are founder members of Whaley Bridge Matters, the residents’ campaign launched to fight off building plans between Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road and the loss of greenfield sites. Shannon, a student at Buxton Community School, is a confident public speaker. In front of about 250 people at a recent protest meeting, she said: “Whaley Bridge would be getting too urban – wherever will we go for peace and quiet?”
Her mum, born and brought up in Whaley Bridge, delivers a similar message: “I just worry about the village losing its character. Four or five bedroom houses they are planning will be too expensive for locals. Then we’d probably need another school being built There should be the infrastructure before anybody proposes building.”
Contacting the residents’ protest group: firstname.lastname@example.org