Middlewich Eastern Bypass (MEB)

Middlewich is one of the Key Service Centres for Cheshire East, providing homes, employment opportunities, retail, education, and health services.

The town centre currently suffers from severe traffic congestion due to its location at the junction of two major roads: the A54 which links to the M6, Winsford and Chester, and the A533 to Sandbach and Northwich. Cheshire East Council has been working since 2015 to develop options for a bypass which will reduce traffic congestion in the town centre whilst supporting employment and housing growth in the area as a whole.

The current programme (subject to confirmation of statutory orders and final funding approval) is for the main works to start in early 2024, with an estimated 27-month construction period.

The current estimate for the cost of the Scheme is £92.5 million, including prior years’ spend to develop the Outline Business Case for the Scheme. The estimated cost has been updated in line with market conditions and inflationary pressures. The estimated cost and funding package is to be presented at Corporate Policy Committee on 6 October 2022 with a recommendation to Council on 19 October 2022 to formally approve the new cost and funding arrangement.


The scheme has full planning consent with conditions. 

Planning Permission 20/2064C amended the original permission 18/5833C, and 20/2162C formed a new permission extending the boundaries of the scheme for revised ecological mitigations and other minor changes to the design.

Two applications for minor material amendments to the permissions were approved with conditions in March 2022. These are 21/2044C and 21/2073C.

Full details of all applications can be found on the planning portal or within the documentation on the Statutory Orders page.

Prior to works commencing on site a number of the planning conditions need to be formally discharged by the Council’s Planning Department and the work to achieve this is at an advanced stage. Conditions in relation to the early construction works described below have already been discharged.

Statutory Orders

On the 9 December 2021 the Highways and Transport Committee resolved to authorise the Director of Governance and Compliance to make the following statutory Orders; -

The Cheshire East Council (A533 Middlewich Eastern Bypass) Compulsory Purchase Order 2022

 The Cheshire East Council (A533 Middlewich Eastern Bypass) (Classified Road) (Side Roads) Order 2022.

And the Cheshire East Council (A533 Middlewich Eastern Bypass-Trent and Mersey Canal Bridge) Scheme 2022.

All landowners affected by the Orders have been informed. The Orders were submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport for confirmation and seven objections were received.  As a result, the case for the Orders will now be considered by an Inspector appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State to determine whether the Orders should be confirmed.  More information about this can be found on the Statutory Orders page.

Advanced works

A programme of preliminary works, including the construction of a Rail Road Access Point (RRAP) to access the site, archaeological investigations, and environmental works including habitat creation (creation of ponds and other habitat) have been undertaken in advance to minimise the duration of subsequent highway construction works. These works were completed in June 2022.

Ground investigation surveys are now complete.

Business case

The Outline Business Case was submitted to the Department of Transport (DfT) in March 2017. The scheme has been accepted onto the DfT’s Large Local Major Scheme programme.

Public Engagement

Public exhibitions relating to the scheme were held on Wednesday 28 March, Saturday 10 April, and Thursday 19 April 2018 at St Mary’s Church Hall in Middlewich to inform members of the public and others with an interest in the scheme of the Council’s proposals and receive feedback for consideration in the further development of the scheme. Further information can be found on the exhibition boards (PDF, 3.8MB) and consultation brochure (PDF, 1.8MB) created for the consultation.

A detailed report on the findings of the consultation can be found in the supporting documents for the CPO under the Statutory Orders page.

Page last reviewed: 20 December 2022