UTILITY companies who want to dig up Crewe roads to carry out work will have to first ask permission from the borough council, under new plans unveiled this week.

Cheshire East is undertaking a formal consultation on a proposed permit scheme that will mean any company planning to undertake repairs will need to apply for a permit before work can start.

At the moment, if a utility company wants to carry out work on a road in the borough, it only has to notify Cheshire East Council, rather than asking for permission.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East’s cabinet member for environment, said: “While we appreciate that utility companies have to make repairs from time to time, it’s important that the work is done at a consistently high quality and that any disruption is kept to a minimum.

“This permit scheme will give us more control over when road works take place, which should help to keep traffic moving as much as possible.”

Other than emergency work, where a company would have to apply for a permit within two hours of the work starting, Cheshire East Council will then grant, refuse or tailor the application.

Attached to the permit will also be a list of specific conditions, which would be jointly agreed with the utility companies and used to amend the works to cause less disruption to road users.

A public notice has been published and the consultation runs until March 14, 2014.

For more information, see cheshireeast.gov.uk/streetworkspermit