PICKMERE Parish Council has been criticised for its handling of the traffic chaos caused by visitors to Pickmere Lake during lockdown.

The criticism came from villager Jayne Henderson, who said residents had experienced a ‘traumatic’ time recently because of the pandemic.

Jayne said the accessibility of the lake created a huge number of problems for residents as families arrived with young children and dogs.

She said: “Teenagers and the public who were furloughed also came in search of sunshine, open spaces and fresh air.

“Sadly this brought problems, with many leaving rubbish and some drinking and drug taking.

“My husband and I, along with a number of residents, worked each evening in an attempt to restore the beauty of the area and protect the wildlife from the rubbish left.”

She said police did ‘a remarkable job’ in policing the safe distancing rules, and encouraging safe drinking and sending people home not adhering to the rules.

She added that Cheshire East Council was equally responsive to the residents’ plight, and with the help of ward councillor Kate Parkinson delivered 100 traffic cones to help ease traffic and parking problems, as well as organising extra bin collections.

She said: “Very sadly Pickmere Parish Council has kept the gates locked, depriving the area of a further seven to 10 hardstanding parking spaces, which has exacerbated the problems.

“To make matters worse, a number of Pickmere residents have taken to parking off their drives and on the roads outside their properties, which has made the situation even more impractical.

“The village is now returning to some sort of normality, and I believe only a handful of cars were issued with tickets during this time.

“This would not have been the case if the gates were unlocked by Pickmere Parish Council, allowing those to park as they should.

“However to prevent these sort of problems happening ever again, we as residents of Pickmere need assurances everyone will work together in an empathetic way.

“To work with the residents primarily and understand our needs, to work with the police if need be, and Cheshire East Council, who are sensitive to the smooth running of the village.

“I hope Pickmere Parish Council is aware of the problems that have been caused through lack of real communication with all the relevant bodies involved, and the trauma residents have endured through these enormously difficult times.

“Most importantly they work as a team for the Pickmere residents from now on and in the future.”

Pickmere Parish Council has been invited to comment.