Barclays Branch in Hazel Grove to Close

Unfortunately, Barclays Bank tell us that their branch in Hazel Grove will close on Friday 7th December.

Banks now have to consult with customers and the community before the branch actually closes – please let us know if this will affect you badly and we can pass on your comments to Barclays.

It is really disappointing to hear of another bank closure making it more difficult for customers.  The nearest branch left will be in Stockport town centre (1 Bridge St, Stockport SK1 1XU) but for some people other branches in Marple and Bramhall may be more convenient and are only slightly further away.

On a slightly better note, customers will still be able to pay in cheques and cash at the post office inside Asda.

We are writing to Barclays to let them know how disappointed we are and if the decision is final or if anything can be done to change it.  With a lot less people using local branches especially now that many people are now using their phones and computers to manage their bank accounts it seems that in many places the closures of branches is becoming a complete crisis with many people really struggling to cope travelling to distant branches.

Personally, I would like to see the government back a scheme of shared branches across all the banks so that no one is left without any access to a local branch and the services they provide.  Costs could be split across all the banks based on the number of customers they have around the country.

I am also suggesting that the bank might help some people to set up their phones for banking before the branch closes.

Hazel Grove Library Closing Temporarily in September

Hazel Grove Library  will be closed between Monday 17th September 2018 date and Thursday 20th September 2018 while they install self-service technology.

 The Library will reopen on Friday 21st September 2018.

 You can renew Library items online or borrow ebooks and eaudiobooks via our web pages :Look for, reserve or renew an item – Stockport Council

 The nearest alternative Library is Great Moor, not far from the A6, but you can visit one of our other Libraries if more convient. Details of locations can be found here – https://www.stockport.gov.uk/about-your-library/opening-times-and-locations

Torkington Road Roadworks for two weeks

Stockport Council has committed to invest £100m to improve roads and footpaths across the borough over a nine year delivery period after LibDems approved the funds when running the Council. This funding will be used to carry out a range of repairs from patching to resurfacing in targeted areas which will provide a long term solution to the deterioration on the highway network.

As part of the programme, Stockport Council will be carrying out carriageway resurfacing works on a section of Torkington Road, Hazel Grove (Offerton Road to Wynchgate Road).

This work is anticipated to commence on the 19th August 2018 for up to 2 weeks, weather permitting, the work will be carried out between 9.00AM to 5.00PM.

During the times stated above it will be necessary to restrict traffic movements on Torkington Road using a temporary road closure notice. These measures are in place to minimise disruption to residents and businesses and to allow safe working operations to take place. As the work progresses it may also be necessary to utilise temporary two way traffic signals at the junction with Offerton Road. The use of the temporary traffic signals at this junction will be restricted to 9.30AM to 3.30PM to minimise the impact to traffic flows in the surrounding area.

Access to properties and businesses in the working area will be maintained where possible however it may be restricted for certain periods as the work progresses.

Signed diversions will be in operation advising of appropriate alternative routes for vehicles affected by the work. The diversion route for vehicles wishing to access Torkington Road is Offerton Road/Marple Road/Stockport Road/Hibbert Lane/Upper Hibbert Lane/Windlehurst Road or Windlehurst Road/Buxton Road/London Road/Torkington Road.

The Council have contacted TFGM (buses) and they will make the necessary arrangements to bus services that will be affected during working times. Although some local disruption is inevitable this will be kept to a minimum by our staff on site.

Temp Macclesfield Road Lights for Four Weeks

From this morning (Monday 30th July) the new temporary traffic lights on Macclesfield Road will be there for four weeks.

More temporary traffic lights !

Unfortunately the 24 hour 7 days a week lights are needed for work on the junction with the new Airport Relief Road.  We know that local residents will be relieved when the road finally opens in the next few months !

 

A Summer of Great Events in Stockport

Here’s just a taste of what’s happening:

Stockport Play Day (1st August) – head to Torkington Park for a day of family fun as Stockport takes part in the national Playday initiative. Activities will include a hay maze. cardboard city, football skills, face painting and much more.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic (4th August) – come and join in the picnic at Merseyway. Children can bring their favourite bear and make their own picnic to enjoy. There will be a host of activities for families throughout the day including face painting, balloon modelling, lawn games and Spot the Honey Pots in the maze.

Merseyway Maze (4th – 17th August) – head into the Merseyway Maze and make your way through all the twists and turns as you compete with family and friends whilst trying not to get lost!

Family Tours at the Hatworks (7th August) – find out all about Stockport and its famous hats on this popular tour and get a chance to try your hand at making a piece of felt. Booking essential. Admission: £5 per child and £2 for accompanying adults.

Crime and Punishment at Staircase House (16th August) – discover gruesome deeds and how the guilty were punished between 11am and 12 noon. Suitable for ages 7+. Admission: Children under 16 are free, £5 for adults and £3.75 for concessions.

Classic Car Show (12th August) – with a wide range of vintage cars and motorcycles on show, this is the perfect day out for all car enthusiasts in Stockport’s Market Place.

Meet the Air Raid Warden at the Stockport Air Raid Shelters (21st August) – come and brave the darkened tunnels as you go back in time and experience the life of a child during the war between 11:00am and 12:30pm.

Emergency Services Day (23rd August) – come and meet all the heroes from our emergency services in St Peter’s Square between 12 noon and 4pm.

Roughley’s Bike Show (26th August) – with motorbikes, entertainment for all the family and promising a great day out, Roughley’s bike show returns to Stockport this August Bank Holiday weekend.

Bramall Hall offers daily free activities for children throughout the holidays, including Knights and Dragons events, brass rubbing, family tours and Tudor Tuesdays, all of which are a great way for young visitors and families to explore the Hall. All free with standard admission.

Weekly storytime events across libraries in the borough. Suitable for pre-school children.

At the same time all of Stockport’s regular, popular events will also be taking place as usual. So why not come along to Stockport Market Place and enjoy Foodie Friday (27th July & 31st August), the Book & Record Fair (5th August), the Makers Market (11th August) and Vintage Village (12th August).

And for those wanting to enjoy the summer sun, why not head to one of the many great parks available across Stockport.

Find out more about all of these events as well as others taking place at by using the councils online events calendar at: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/events

Ask for Angela – Help With Domestic Abuse

Citizens Advice in Stockport are today launching a six month trial of a new support service for domestic abuse victims.

Domestic abuse is a common problem in the UK. An Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey in 2014 determined that 30% of women and 16% of men had reported suffering domestic abuse at some time in their adulthood (ONS, 2014).

Greater Manchester Police released figures which show that there have were 1589 cases of domestic abuse reported in Stockport in 2017.

The “Ask for Angela” initiative was first started in Lincolnshire to allow people in difficult situations to discreetly ask for help in bars and nightclubs without having to explain why. Staff were trained that if anyone ‘Asked for Angela’ they should be helped without questions first.

This project worked well and has been picked up by Citizens Advice in Stockport as a way for visitors to quietly say they would like help with a domestic abuse issue without having to explain it at the counter. They will immediately be taken to a private and supportive room where they can explain safely.

Citizens Advice in Stockport operate a free, confidential, independent, impartial advice and information drop-in 5 days a week on the ground floor of the Councils Fred Perry House, 9.30am-4pm.

A6 to M60 Setback

 

 

The A6 to M60 road is part of the SEMMMS strategy

Goyt Valley SOS recently uncovered a letter from the department for transport (DfT) declining to fund the next stage of the A6 to M60 road scheme at the moment. The scheme includes the Hazel Grove A6 bypass.

I strongly support Goyt Valley SOS’s right to campaign against this scheme – it will destroy some important natural areas and we must always protect areas like these against unjustified development.

And, I congratulate them on uncovering the letter in question with a freedom of information request. It seems very curious that the council cabinet hadn’t seen fit to tell anyone about it – it would surely have had to become public at some point.

You can see the letter from the DfT courtesy of the Goyt Valley SOS at: https://stockportbypassfacts.com/ouch-the-letter-from-the-department-for-transport/

However, it seems to me that Goyt Valley SOS very much exaggerated the impact of the letter when they claimed that the bypass might be stopped by this.

The key points from the letter are as follows, each with a comment afterwards:

1) The government has to think very carefully when allocating money for road projects especially larger schemes like this one for £450 million.

Of course, the government should be careful with money, but it is hard not to contrast it with transport schemes in London that cost billions.

2) In a previous round of funding this scheme was not successful – only 12 of 50 schemes were funded, to avoid raising unrealistic expectations.

This round of funding was for bypasses up to £100 million. The Hazel Grove bypass element of the scheme, if presented separately could possibly secure funding from this funding scheme in the future.

3) If the scheme is still pursued the government is happy to help with advice for the next available funding round (which has not yet been decided).

4) That the council should consider lower cost alternatives.

This is clearly prudent advice. I believe that there won’t be huge savings to be made without compromising the scheme and lowering its value for money. That is not to say that it is not wise to look very hard at trying to save money. However, splitting the scheme into phases might make each part more likely to receive funding, as was in fact the case with the first half of the full scheme, the road to the airport, being funded before the road to the M60.

5) They recommend the scheme needs to be supported by Greater Manchester and Transport for the North.

In complete contrast to the Goyt Valley SOS interpretation of the letter this states clearly that the government’s recommendation is to proceed looking into the scheme but to ensure that it has wide support across Manchester and the North before the government can support it. As a GM initiative, SEMMMS, of which this scheme is one part, clearly does have support across Manchester; we can expect to see further bids to fund the scheme more in line with the government’s advice.

With the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework due to report back in the Autumn, after more delays, with updated proposals on where we need thousands of new homes across Greater Manchester, it is difficult to see how any such proposals could not also call for strategic transport improvements across the highly congested south of Manchester.

The A6 through Hazel Grove is one of the most congested roads in the country and a bypass is sorely needed together with a big push towards better public transport as well.

Making Contacting the Council Easy Again

I am passionate about restoring the Council’s communications – too many people struggle to reach the Council when they need them because the Council does not have the money or resources to run a large telephone contact centre any more.

Earlier this year I attended UCExpo in London which was all about Unified Communications – making sure that organisations can provide a great service across all contact systems from phone, email and online in a seamless way. If you want to see more see – https://www.ucexpo.co.uk for next years event.

We may be some time before we can actually see one of these systems in operation here in Stockport but it is great to see Council officers open to exploring these new opportunities.  The good news is that the first commercial systems with voice recognition are starting to appear and first impressions are that they will revolutionise the Councils capacity to interact with the public and I want to see Stockport as one of the first Council’s to use these systems.

My vision is that as well as anybody being able to easily ring the council again, modern systems will make sure the phone is answered quickly and simple questions will be answered immediately. The artificial intelligence systems can learn from everything on the website and answer questions on any of those subjects. Having many simple questions answered automatically frees up council staff to answer more complex questions when they are needed. These systems can even redirect people with access to the internet to the right web page they need if there is one.

Contact Greater Manchester Police Quickly Online

 

Greater Manchester Police officially launched its innovative new online chat service following feedback that more and more people want online services.  It is available on their main website at: http://www.gmp.police.uk in the bottom right corner.

The new system has been running as a pilot for the last six months but now the Force is encouraging people to go online when possible and speak to a specially trained advisor at the click of a button instead of picking up the phone.

The world cup, Donald Trump’s visit and the hot weather have all lead to an increase in calls to the police. They work really hard to deal with everything that comes in to them but still need the public to work with them, to think before they call and do everything they can to support each other and keep our communities safe.

A recent weekend saw an unprecedented 8,000 calls to 101 and 999.

The new LiveChat service helps to reduce the pressure and help people contact them faster.

You can use LiveChat between 8am and midnight to:

– Report a crime
– Give police information about their local area
– Get an update on a crime they have already reported
– Ask an advisor anything police related

During the pilot, GMP’s LiveChat saw 14,237 conversations take place for anything from noise complaints and neighbour disputes right up to disclosures of domestic abuse and modern slavery.

GMSF Delayed Again – Less New Houses Needed?

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has again been delayed. The latest cause is mainly that new official population estimates show slightly slower growth than previously expected. The new date for the report to be published is October this year.

What is most interesting about this is that even a relatively small reduction in demand might mean much lower demand to release green belt. The first draft of the GMSF showed a need for almost 20,000 new homes across Stockport half of which might be met without using the greenbelt.

Cllr Jon Twigge commented, “If the overall reduction was just one in six then given the same total from brownfield sites this would equate to one in three previously earmarked greenbelt homes no longer being needed. In fact, given lower overall requirement and Manchester City being keen to build new apartments in large numbers there might be scope to adjust Stockport’s allocation even lower – perhaps even saving High Lane from substantial building.”

Stockport Liberal Democrats will be asking for more details on these changes as soon as possible.