A6 MARR and Carillion Update

With the news of Carillion going into liquidation on the news today there will clearly be large impacts across the country.

The good news for Hazel Grove is that the A6 MARR is run by a joint venture between Carillion and Morgan Sindall, another construction company.  In the short term this means that the project is far less likely to be seriously impacted than if the project was being directly run by Carillion.

We have heard from senior council officers that they expect Morgan Sindall will simply inherit the work from the joint venture and the project should continue with relatively minimal disruption.  The council are in discussions to ensure that work carries on as efficiently as possible.

We will update everyone of any further news or changes to this.

 

Council Dog Fouling Campaign

The council have now begun to put up Glow in the Dark posters designed by Keep Britain Tidy to help put off irresponsible owners who think they can get away with leaving dog mess in the dark.

We are still calling for hot spots where the signs can be put up so please do let us know about them.

“We really welcome these new posters but we are a bit concerned about the cost so we are looking at ways to make much cheaper community designed posters and also other ways to deter dog owners,” said local Lib Dem Cllr, Jon Twigge.

Jon and Paul Welcome Phase Three of Stockport Exchange

Phase 3 of Stockport Exchange has been launched, with a new office block to be built on the site of the former Cineworld cinema by Stockport station.

This is phase three of six that was agreed by the Lib Dem administration on Stockport Council. A few years ago, anyone coming out of Stockport station would see the back of the closed Heaven and Hell nightclub and the bowling alley. It wasn’t a great advert for the town.

The Lib Dem administration have brought about a transformation. We now have a new hotel, grade A offices, a new cinema complex at Redrock, numerous road improvements and more on the way. There’s still a long way to go, but Stockport is changing for the better.

“While Hazel Grove won’t see development on the scale of the one Billion Pounds that was planned by the Liberal Democrats in the Town Hall a bypass would allow us to invest and regenerate right along our patch of the A6 once a majority of all the dirty and heavy vehicles that are just passing through could go around us,” said Lib Dem Councillor Jon Twigge.

Torkington Road Pelican Crossing Fails Again

The pelican crossing lights on Torkington Road near to the park have failed again today.


A Typical Pelican Crossing

We have reported this to the TfGM emergency number to try to get them fixed as soon as possible.  Being a Sunday, the line went through direct to TfGM’s contractor, and we spoke to someone in Hampshire!

A lot of people use this crossing to get to and from Torkington Park and when it is busy it is not easy to cross.  What makes it more difficult is that in one direction the cars are travelling quickly but in the other direction towards the A6 they are queueing and moving stop / start as the main A6 traffic lights change. The junction very close by with Hazelwood Road makes it even more complicated.  Pedestrians have to get through the queueing traffic and then look for faster cars going in the other direction.

What is more worrying is that this is not the first time these lights have failed recently so we are asking why is this – were they not repaired properly last time?

A6 to Bredbury Road – The Process Continues

After one of the longest debates in recent Stockport Council history the process possibly leading to building the new road from the A6 just south of Hazel Grove across to Bredbury and the M60 still continues.

 

The Road is the Second Phase of a Road from the Airport to Bredbury

The debate was only to put a recommendation to the the Council Cabinet later in December (19th) and voted strongly to recommend continuing the process.  In a much closer run vote Cabinet decided to rubber stamp that recommendation and the Council will now bid for money to do a full business case study.

It has to be stressed, this is absolutely not a decision to build the road, it is still a very long way from that but the process has not been stopped yet.

In the full council meeting many councillors with a variety of views on the road were saying that they want more information and that is why they want the process to continue (including some councillors who want the information to finally, once and for all, to reject the road after decades of discussion). This vote was only a recommendation to the cabinet not a decision.

The Labour Cabinet then met on the 19th december and decided by a vote of 5-3 to continue the process.

The next stage is for the council to bid for government money to do a full business case for the road – approximate half a million pounds. If the business case was started it would include a full environmental study as well as a full business case study and a full public consultation.  Only after the full business case was complete, if the bid was successful, would council then vote on whether to bid for the actual project money to build it – a much larger amount of money of hundreds of millions of pounds.

There are still a number of times that the new road might be rejected in the coming process.

A6 Sunday Lane Closures and Diversions Near St Mary’s Way

The years of heavy traffic on the A6, London Road, has taken its toll on the road and the drainage underneath it; the ongoing work associated with the drains under the A6 continues.

 

This time work will be between the junctions with Hatherlow Lane and Grundey Street, that section that passes Wetherspoons.  One lane northbound toward Stockport will be closed on three Sundays as follows:

  • Sunday 14th January
  • Sunday 21st January
  • Sunday 28th January

Also, work resumes on the 8th on St Mary’s Way to complete the major improvements associated with the Town Centre Access Plan.  The most significant effects will be:

  • it will not be possible to turn left from St Mary’s Way into Hall Street (the turn for Marple) for seven weeks from the 8th of January
  • St Mary’s Way will be closed overnight (8pm to 5:30pm) on weekdays for three weeks from the 15th January

Full details of this work are on the council website at:

https://www.stockport.gov.uk/news/changes-along-st-marys-way-as-improvement-works-near-completion

 

 

GM Police facing £6.93m real-term cut

Greater Manchester Police are facing a real-term cut of £6.93m next year, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Before Christmas the government announced that core funding for police budgets will remain exactly the same as last year. Taking into account inflation, that means Greater Manchester Police will face a real-terms cut of £6.93m.

GM Police Face More Real-Term Cuts

 

The additional £270m of funding the government claims to be investing in the police nationally depends entirely on local Police and Crime Commissioners raising the police precept in their areas, which the Liberal Democrats have branded a “stealth council tax rise”.

Lib Dem Councillor for Hazel Grove, Jon Twigge commented:

“We have been having quite an anti social behaviour problem here in Hazel Grove over the last few months. The police tell me they don’t have the numbers to get out on the street to stop it quickly. Instead, our hard working local officers have to follow an intelligence led approach which they say does work well but it takes a lot longer. These latest cuts are not going to help!”

Senior police officers have been calling for increases in investment for our police but the Conservative government seem to have ignored them yet again.

Cllr Mark Hunter, leader of Stockport Lib Dem Group said “I’m genuinely shocked that Ministers are ignoring the alarming rise in serious crime with this short-sighted decision.”

Beech Avenue Pavements Finally to be Fixed

After several reports of the state of them, and after quite a wait, the pavements on Beech Avenue are finally going to be fixed beginning on the 18th January.  The work will take up to six weeks but it should be worth the wait to have them safe again.

Both the library and the Surgery are at the top of Beech Avenue.  The hill and the terrible state of the pavements up there has caused more than one accident in recent months so it will be a big relief for local residents that have to regularly walk up and down them.

Part of the delay was that the street lights needed replacing as well and it would not have made sense to have to dig up new pavements to replace the lights.

 

 

Contacting the Council Gets More Difficult

This is not new news, it has been getting harder to speak to someone at the council over a few years!  Unfortunately, the reason is, the large cost of running the call centre.

The Council Needs a Modern Phone System

To help meet the cuts in the council budget, people are, wherever possible directed to the website.  I have written about this before but I think it deserves more attention.  Many people cannot get on the internet and have to ring the council instead.  This has two major problems:

  • the phone number is not as easy to find as it used to be – deliberately to try to encourage people to use the internet and,
  • with limited staff in the call centre it can sometimes take ages for anyone to answer !

The answer, it seems to me, with my background in software and IT, is that the council should get up to date with the latest technology and install a voice recognition system.  I know many people don’t like talking to computers but to be honest, there are not many alternatives – the council faces further cuts in the coming years and the prospect of taking on lots of staff to expand the call centre is remote.

There is good news though.  The latest systems are far better than the first systems that call centres installed years ago where you had to press the numbers on your keypad and it seemed to take forever to go round in circles.  No, the latest systems allow you to say what your issue is and the clever software repeats it back to you for you to confirm.  And, it is getting better all the time.

This would not be a cheap option to set up and it would not instantly cure the problem completely but it just might help a lot of people get the information they need from the council – or easily leave a message for someone to ring back about if appropriate.  But, in the long term it would help the council save money AND give a better service.

The Liberal Democrats are not in power in Stockport at the moment so we can’t make the decision at the moment.  But, I have emailed my bank, they has a really good system now, to see if I can get some information and start to get a plan together that might just get the ball rolling.  The council can borrow money very cheaply, and if a long term cost saving can be shown then it is called prudential borrowing.

 

Action on Speeding

It is hugely disappointing to know that Police resources are so stretched that speeding motorists get so little attention that some people seem to think that they can get away with incredible speeds and dangerous driving on our roads.

Recent announcements by the government that Police budgets are to be frozen this year (with a token gesture of extra money that will actually come out of our pockets if the mayor decides to raise the money) mean there is no likely prospect of things improving in the near future.

But we have not given up !

Today I have written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester asking that Greater Manchester Police should accept DashCam videos, of irresponsible driving, through the internet.

Dashboard Cameras out there allow you to automatically record what happens in front of your car (and some behind as well) for use in evidence if you have an accident or see dangerous driving.  Greater Manchester police should make it as easy as possible for members of the public to report such incidents.

Slimline Connected DashCams

New devices are getting better all the time and I am looking to buy one particular camera that supports very easy uploading of video to the internet to come out – it is due soon !   I look forward to the day when i can easily report dangerous driving to the police and know that something will be done about it!

With the support of the police to make it easy and enough people reporting dangerous driving the small minority that make our roads so dangerous may start to think twice before they risk other people’s lives !

Jon