MIDDLEWICH’S long-awaited bypass has entered the next stage of its development after an environmental assessment for the project was released.

In a report which will be used by Cheshire East Council to consider any wildlife or environmental issues surrounding the new road, Natural England has raised no major objections to the Middlewich Eastern Bypass.

But the national body is still urging the council to keep ‘any impacts upon local wildlife and geological sites’ in mind as it moves forward with the scheme.

A spokesman at Natural England said: “[Local sites] are of county importance for wildlife or geodiversity.

“The environmental statement should therefore include an assessment of the likely impacts on the wildlife and geodiversity interests of such sites.

“The assessment should include proposals for mitigation of any impacts and if appropriate, compensation measures.”

Natural England also wants the CEC to consider any impact the bypass could have on nature conservation, look at future opportunities for creating new habitats, and carry out a habitat survey for the area.

Cllr Jonathan Parry said: “The way I see it is that this assessment is another step towards progression with the bypass.

“I do hope that the data they collected in 2015 and 2016 is updated though.

“I am desperate to see this bypass built but I want it done to properly and the data they use in consideration with this should be up to date.

“Middlewich is a rapidly developing town and data that’s two years old is already outdated by now.

“I do not mind if that means they take a bit more time with this because it is a massive project and there is a lot to take into consideration.

“The assessment is positive though, and it again proves to people that the project is going to happen soon.”

Cllr Michael Parsons, Middlewich First member on CEC, believes that the bypass’ development is progressing well at this stage.

“I am not aware of any negatives in the Environmental Assessment report,” he said.

“A lot of the environmental considerations were already in order from the original plans back in 2015 so I understand that they might need to be updated.

“There are a lot of people who will still say it is not going to happen but you have to ask why would the government grant £46.8 million for a project if they did not think it would inevitably happen?”