Looking after the Walls…
As well as being an important historic monument, Chester’s walls also provide a unique and elevated pedestrianised route for residents and visitors to navigate their way around town.
Chester is unique in this respect, because unlike places like York which also has walls, Chester’s walls do not open in the morning and then close again in the evening, they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and are managed as part of our highway infrastructure.
Clearly the cost of maintaining a standard pavement somewhere in Chester, compared to potentially having to acquire permissions from Historic England and engaging the support of archaeologists and technical specialists to fix walkways on the walls is not comparable, yet there is no accounting for this discrepancy in the highways funding Cheshire West and Chester council receive from government for road maintenance.
Since 2010 the government has cut over £466 million of funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council and last year our highways funding was cut again by 22%. Locally Labour councillors are putting money raised through local taxation into a pot to try and plug the gaps in highways funding left by government cuts, and are still investing in the maintenance of our walls too, but if the government continues to cut funding for highways without acknowledging the unique situation with Chester’s walls then this is going to become more and more challenging.
That’s why I am writing to government ministers to raise awareness of this issue. I am inviting Chester residents to add their name to my letters to highlight the weight of local support for a sensible solution, where government accounts for the additional cost of maintaining the walls as part of the formula they use to identify the annual funding provided to Cheshire West and Chester Council for highways maintenance.
To add your name to my future letters, fill in the form below:
Sign my Chester Walls letters
- My first letter was to the Chancellor in October as part of the spending review, you can read the letter here.