CALLS to stop traffic ‘chaos’ in Knutsford getting even worse were ignored as Parkgate Industrial Estate was given the green light for expansion.

Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board approved Chancerygate’s scheme to add 16 units to the site, despite fears from residents and business owners it would add to congestion around Haig Road, Parkgate Lane and Mobberley Road.

A new roundabout, junction improvements and parking bays in Haig Lane form part of the application in a bid to improve congestion – but Cllr Tony Dean insisted it would not be enough.

He called on CEC to address ‘the elephant in the room’ which would only be made worse by a new housing development set to be built north of Parkgate.

He said: “The chaos on Parkgate Lane, which leads to Haig Road, getting in and out at rush hour, is already extremely bad.

“There are two large developments that are going to make that already extremely difficult access even worse, and Chancerygate’s highways people have twisted themselves into all kind of shapes to get an answer which says it’s going to be OK once the roundabout is put in. Nobody believes that.”

Cllr Dean said a ‘realistic option’ would be to open a second access at the new housing development north of Parkgate, a call echoed by Henry Brooks of Tatton Estate – which holds the planning permission to build the homes.

Vincent Green, chairman of Parkgate-based firm Sandafayre, said the Parkgate Lane access was ‘in chaos’.

Marc Hourigan, acting on behalf of Chancerygate, insisted the roundabout would be sufficient to resolve traffic concerns in the area.

He said: “My client has agreed to all the highways improvements requested by your officers, which include all the financial contributions to improve junctions, the proposed roundabout in Mobberley Road and the creation of parking bays in Haig Road to address parking issues.

“I’ve taken instructions about a potential access to the north – that’s not acceptable to my client. It creates a ransom in favour of the Tatton Estate, and that is not acceptable to my client.”

Members rejected a proposal to defer the item to find a better access solution before approving the scheme by eight votes to three.

Cllr Jonathan Farber, chairman of Knutsford Town Council’s planning committee said: “The committee tabled a number of logical suggestions and proposals to protect business interests by means of better traffic planning and safer pedestrian access to the development.

“It was also pointed out that at 13.5 metres in height the industrial buildings could be seen from Tatton Park and highly visible neighbouring development as proposed by TEM.

“In chamber we submitted proposals that if the second access road was not to be explored (the preferred option), a widening of the road adjacent to the retail units was needed to allow freer flowing traffic into Parkgate.

“We also proposed a pedestrian footbridge to ensure anyone walking to work can do so safely.

“Sadly, it appears Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board was unable to counter Chancerygate’s argument and thus, are now directly responsible for the added traffic misery articulated lorries and HGVs cause, plus extra commuter traffic over a single ageing bridge.

“If anything were to happen on or near that structure, be it an accident, or worse, a bridge collapse, the entire estate would be paralysed, causing irreparable cashflow impact on businesses, which could easily result in many hundreds of job losses."