An area in a Moorlands town where a landslide happened has finally been made safe – almost two years after the incident. We reported in 2019 about the collapse of a wall and parking area in Prince George Street in Cheadle which resulted in three shops along the adjacent High Street being closed temporarily.
An area in a Moorlands town where a landslide happened has finally been made safe – almost two years after the incident.
We reported in 2019 about the collapse of a wall and parking area in Prince George Street in Cheadle which resulted in three shops along the adjacent High Street being closed temporarily.
Those three shops remain empty, and the land had remained as it was left after the landslide – the latter that was until on Friday (July 16) when works were finally carried out to make the area safe.
The recent work was arranged jointly by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Staffordshire County Council, and came after the Times & Echo ran several articles about residents concerns over the continued temporary road closure of Prince George Street.
This week, resident Paul Climpson informed us that work had finally been carried out to make the area safe, but that the road remains temporarily closed.
Mr Climpson said: “The guys who came and did the work told me that they could not believe how dangerous that land had been left and for how long. One told me that “heads should roll” that it had been left for so long like that.
“They got moving straightaway and told me that they cleared 80 tonne of rubble from the site.
“They have also made it all safe and put up wooden hoarding around the site.
“I am pleased it has finally been made safe, as kids have been playing on that site, but this should have all been done after this happened in 2019.
“Now we want our road back open again as residents have been in limbo for so long.
“We have vehicles coming up here and having to turn around in our driveways, some damaging our walls in the process.”
The Times & Echo contacted SMDC and also district and county councillor Mark Deaville about the works the two councils had organised to be carried out to make the site safe.
Cllr Deaville said: “I called an urgent meeting on Wednesday last week with Highways Officers, SMDC Senior Officers and the Building Control/ Structural Officers. I requested urgent action to make safe. I am delighted with the response.
“I can understand the residents unhappiness around the time elapsed and also around the continued road closure.
“Safety is paramount here, and whilst I am pleased with the response this weekend, I will certainly be looking to continue the investigations around this area urgently and carry out any necessary works to enable the road to be re-opened as soon as its safe to do so.
“When I know the details I will let the residents know of the details and the timescale.”
When further quizzed why the councils had not carried out the work to make the site safe sooner, cllr Deaville said: “That is a reasonable question to ask. It was due to the involvement of a number of different organisations such as insurance companies and the county and district councils.
“I maintain that I am fully supportive of what residents say and we are onto it.”
Following on from cllr Deaville’s statement, SMDC issued a press release in which a spokesman said: “In line with their statutory duties to protect public health and safety, the councils evacuated properties (in 2019) and closed Prince George Street to prevent further slippage after a wall and parking area behind 20 – 26a High Street collapsed.
“The work to repair the damage caused is the responsibility of the owners of these properties but, given the amount of time that has now passed, the councils are keen to see progress and to enable the road and the businesses to reopen.’
Councillor Edwin Wain, Cabinet Member for Planning, Development and Property at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: “We know that this ongoing issue is causing concern which is why we and the county council are working with the owners of the affected properties so that the road and the businesses can re-open safely and as quickly as possible.
“Public safety must, of course, come first which is why the road and the properties have had to remain closed but we understand the delay in resolving this is causing frustration for local people.
“We are assisting owners through the process of carrying out the necessary works to secure a long-term solution whilst ensuring there is no immediate danger to the public. I’d like to thank people for their continued patience.”
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams added: “We will continue to work with the district council and affected property owners with an aim to reopen the road as quickly as possible. We understand people’s frustrations but need to ensure it is safe before we move forward.”
MORE than 30 residents in Prince George Street have put their names to a public statement about their concerns over their street potentially being closed for another 18 months.
The below statement, which was compiled prior to the recent works being carried out, is set to be read out, on their behalf, at this evening’s (Wednesday, July 21) Cheadle Town Council meeting:
A number of the residents of Prince George street, Cheadle wish to make a statement of their dismay at the further 18 month extension of the road closure adversely affecting life in their street.
The parties involved have already had 22 months to rectify the problem and to allow more time continues to make our lives a misery.
During this time no real remedial work to make the site safe has been carried out, and on a number of occasions teenagers have been seen climbing on to the property risking their lives in doing so.
Emergency services often come to the road closure when trying to access the far end of the street and also Friars Close and then have to turn around in residents drives or reverse all the way out wasting valuable minutes vital in emergency situations.
Multiple delivery vehicles and cars drive mistakenly every day down the street (inc weekends) and then continue to turn around in the drives or in some cases yards of the home owners.
During this time two walls have been knocked over, two more damaged and there have been multiple near collisions with delivery vehicles, and now we have had to block our drives with bollards to prevent further damage.
Some residents have to reverse over 100 metres into oncoming traffic to turn around. Why should we put up with this when we are tax payers and have been patient up until now?
The section now closed has become an eyesore, overgrown hedges, thick piles of leaves, litter and dog muck left in the road.
Several people have expressed that their mental health has been adversely affected.
If the properties to be demolished are so unsafe why have the adjacent homes not been evacuated, why is Bargain Booze still open when the rear of the shop is in the shadow of the rest of the carpark that could cave in again, also why is the 16 Ton refuse truck allowed to reverse all the way along the street right up to the condemned houses and tick over while the bins are emptied and yet residents can’t drive their family cars past those same properties in the direction that this road has always been. It is not a cul-de-sac.
House sales have been severely affected by the closure which has been verified by three local estate agents, one of which has contacted the council to air his concerns, resulting in five properties being removed from sale.
Some of the affected sellers are taking legal advice with a view to suing the responsible parties for blighting sales.
Many questions remain un-answered: Why have the residents not been contacted at any time? Have council engineers visited the site, if so, why has the report not been made public? Why have the council / highways dept allowed a public road to be closed indefinitely? Why have the council allowed another 18 month road closure with no planning or public consultation instead of enforcement action or a deadline imposed?
The residents are currently in contact with their local MP, town and county councillors and local newspapers as well as the above mentioned solicitors.
We are also seeking dialogue with the local news channels and the Health and Safety Executive.
We request that the road be re-opened until the works commence and that road plates, the type used on main roads throughout the country, be used on the short stretch alongside the affected property, so that we can start to get our lives back to normal.
Photos by Paul Climpson.
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