Royal Oak Planning Application

It has been a long time coming but June will finally bring the McCarthy and Stone planning application for the former Royal Oak site on Commercial Road to Area Committee.

Minor changes have been made to the design of the application to help meet planning officers concerns but it is not yet clear if all of issues that could stop the plans have been met.

The application can be seen on the Council’s website at: http://planning.stockport.gov.uk/PlanningData-live/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=P08J1SPJLSQ00

With the consultation period now closed, interestingly it appears that only four members of the public have put in objections to the plans while eight people have offered supportive comments.

Some of the major areas of contention with the design that are relevant to a planning decision are:

  • The physical size of the new building with 40 units  – is it out of place or overdevelopment or perhaps much welcomed new homes (that potentially frees up bigger homes as older people downsize)
  • The loss of the green space, the old bowling green behind the pub.  If this is accepted there is a standard national formula for compensation that the developer would have to pay the council to invest in other green space nearby.
  • More traffic on Commercial Road !   Given the already very heavy traffic on Commercial Road this is worrying but given the average age of residents in McCarthy and Stone developments this might actually add less traffic at busy periods than the previous planning application for a dozen new houses.

Council officers advice will be vital, as to whether the application has met legal requirements, but it is certainly not clear cut and could come down to individual councillor opinions.

Made to Move – Cycling and Walking Across GM

GREATER Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner has called for £1.5 billion to help realise his vision of transforming the city region into a world class region for cycling and walking.

Last year Mayor of Greater Manchester appointed Chris Boardman to say how GM can deliver a step change in the numbers of people walking and cycling in the city region.

Chris Boardman

The result, a 15-point plan, includes proposals to publish a detailed 2018 Greater Manchester-wide walking and cycling infrastructure plan, as set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy, and establish a ring-fenced, 10-year, £1.5 billion infrastructure fund for walking and cycling. This would bring Greater Manchester’s spend on cycling and walking in line with other major conurbations, including London and Oslo.

Recently the combined authority asked all of the councillors across Greater Manchester to support the proposals and so far, with just one day to go, over 40 percent have pledged their support – they only need to click on one link to register.

“Lib Dem councillors are leading the way with over half pledging support and I am encouraging others to as well before the deadline”, said Cllr Jon Twigge. “Conservative councillors are nowhere near as keen with less than a quarter of their councillors supporting the campaign to cycle and walk more”.

The campaign was launched before Christmas: https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/news/article/242/chris_boardman_calls_for_15bn_over_a_decade_to_make_greater_manchester_a_world_class_region_for_cycling_and_walking

St Mary’s Way Work Nearing Completion

The great news is that St Mary’s Way work is nearing completion.  With most of the major work at the site almost done we should now see less disruption in the final few weeks with only minor traffic control until it is finished completely.  The exception will be overnight closures for final resurfacing which should hopefully not create too much disruption.

Earlier Work at St Mary’s Way

The remaining disruptive times will be:

  • Overnight resurfacing beginning 16th April for approximately two weeks (8pm until 5:30am)
  • Temporary lights at the Junction with Hall Street expected for one week while TfGM finalise the new traffic lights

But if only that were the only works in town!   Work at Junction 1 of the M60 will continue as does the work on the A6MARR and nearby associated repair work on the A555.

We would love to bring you an opening date for the A6MARR to the airport but at the moment our best guess is sometime over the summer.

It’s Official: Paul is Lib Dem Candidate for Hazel Grove

Paul Ankers will be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hazel Grove, after nomination papers are accepted by town hall officials.

“We’ve had a great reception on the doorstep so far,” said Paul. “Residents say they like having Lib Dem councillors who work all year round and get things done. They rarely hear from the other parties except at election time.”

The election in Hazel Grove looks set to be another fight between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. Labour never do well here and are usually a long way behind the other two.

“The snow and ice this winter mean we are seeing more potholes than ever. Cold winters damage our roads and that means existing potholes have got bigger and new ones have turned up,” Paul said.

The Lib Dem team are calling on the Council to properly resurface some of the worst roads in the next year, as part of the Lib Dem £100m road and pavement repair programme. The other bad roads should be done over the next few years in that nine-year programme.

But we need potholes to be repaired now, and there are some nasty ones.

If you spot a pothole, please take a minute to report it to the Council

Council Removes Recycling Facilities from Commercial Road

As part of the cost cutting measures right across Stockport the council has removed their recycling bins from the car park on Commercial Road in Hazel Grove.

Recycling Bins Being Removed

The theory is that all residents should now have their own recycling bins provided by the council and that companies should not have been using these public recycling bins anyway.

The area has regularly been a site for fly tipping because people already had too much rubbish and recycling and we fear that some people will continue to leave rubbish there as they are used to using the site.  Now, if you cannot fit all your waste and recycling into your own household bins there will be no option but to take it to Sainsbury who have some recycling space or more likely, Rose Hill recycling centre in Marple.

We are asking why the bins were removed.   At a similar site in Marple we have already seen rubbish left where people expected the recycling bins to be.

UPDATE:

Apparently the removal was based on a review of the use of these sites and their removal will save the Council £50K a year.  The reasons given for removing them were:

  • They are misused by traders who should not be using them at all – traders have to pay to have their waste removed
  • The recycling contents were often contaminated with other waste that meant it was often rejected
  • The sites were often the targets for fly tipping – we can agree with this – it often happened at the commercial road site.

But, what about residents that relied on the sites because they could not have recycling bins at home – there does not seem to have been any consultation on their needs.  PLEASE let us know if this affects you.

Bad Weather Means More Potholes – Please Report Them

The recent snow and ice means we are seeing more potholes. Cold winters damage our roads and that means potholes have become bigger and new ones have turned up.

 Examples of significant potholes that can be reported for repair

The Lib Dem team are calling on the Council to properly resurface some of the worst roads in the next year, as part of the Lib Dem £100m road and pavement repair programme. The other bad roads should be done over the next few years in that nine-year programme.

But we need bad potholes to repaired now, there are some nasty ones, and if they are deep the council will repair them quickly.

If you spot a bad pothole, please take a minute to report it to the Council at https://www.stockport.gov.uk/start/pot-hole-and-tripping-hazard-report

Continuing A6 Drain Roadworks

This weekend should see a number of the latest issues caused by the drains under the A6 being fixed.

The works will run between Chapel Street and Sainsbury including the really bad manhole cover by the entrance to Asda.  That manhole cover was reported to us over the weekend and looked to be in a really bad state with the road breaking up badly around it, the whole thing moving substantially every time a car went over it and it making a lot of noise.

Fortunately, from an examination yesterday, it does not look to be in imminent danger of collapse despite looking and sounding so bad and a fix this coming weekend should sort out the problem.

 

LED Street Light Update

There has been talk of upgrading the street lights in Stockport to shiny new LED technology for some time and the program to replace them is finally going to start this year.  The good news is that Hazel Grove will be one of the areas that get the first replacements so we should see our first new lights fitted in the autumn.

LED lights use far less electricity than the old kinds that have been used before and the bulbs last longer so in the longer term the council will save money in both electricity costs and maintenance.

LED Lights are cheaper to run and maintain

Replacing the lights also means that the fittings are the latest designs as well which should mean less wasted light up into the sky and less light pollution into neighbouring houses as more of the light is directed to where it is needed.

One think to watch out for is that new LED lights can be brighter and whiter than old bulbs.  In many cases this is a big benefit but not everyone likes the change until they get used to them.  The council may use a softer coloured light than the pure white bulbs in quieter areas where a strong light might be intrusive but that would be balanced against safety needs as well.

To make the swap as cost effective as possible they will start by replacing older lights first especially where the posts or columns are in need of more repairs.  The complete swap will take a few years and with such an expensive bill to do it it will be rather a lot of years before the savings come back.

 

Royal Oak Site Should Be Cleaned Up Soon

Today council officers have written to the current owners of the Royal Oak site to radically clean up the site.

“We have all been trying to get this done properly for months and now the council is finally in a position to formally request a complete clean up”, said Cllr Jon Twigge.  “If the site is not cleared in a month then more action will be taken.”

We are still waiting on more news on the McCarthy and Stone development which if passed would probably have meant a faster clean up as they took control of the site.

The full clean up should consist of:

  • Reglaze all broken windows to the front, rear and sides of the building OR cover all windows, doors and other opening to the building using metal shutters or painted plywood.
  • Remove all broken down/damaged or derelict motor vehicles being stored on the land.
  • Remove all fly tipped and other waste from the land and dispose of it at a licensed waste disposal site.
  • Remove all other extraneous waste and litter from the land and dispose of it at a licenced waste disposal site.
  • Cut back and remove all overgrown vegetation from the land and dispose of it at a licensed waste disposal site.

Melford Road Unauthorised Occupations

We have seen a series of unauthorised occupations in Melford Road by various different groups of travellers over the years but hopefully there will be an end to the problem soon with the council to make extensive changes to the site – more below.

The last year has seen probably more than ever and we have an occupation by a number of people at the moment.

The End of Melford Road Has Wide Open Streets – Google Street View

Every visit is unpleasant for local businesses and residents, especially those closest in Kyle and Tannock Roads, with the physical mess that they leave behind, the feeling of intimidation that their presence can cause for some and the worry of crime in the area that some feel may come with their presence.

Stockport council have a great team of people that deal with these incursions, along with the police. As soon as it is reported to them they go to visit to assess the level of the problem and then follow a strict legal process to remove them. It is difficult to assess the total cost to Stockport when you add up all of the staff, police, court time and other costs but it really adds up for every visit.

The Removal Process

Often travellers will move on within two weeks but sometimes it can take longer. The first delay can be welfare needs of any travellers present, for example children that are not well. Stockport council has to follow legal procedures in this respect to ensure that these immediate welfare needs are met. As frustrating as it can be seeing travellers stay any longer officers have to respect these needs.

Once it is clear that immediate welfare needs are ok then the formal legal process can be followed from the Criminal and Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Travellers are issued with a Section 77 notice from this act that directs them to leave within 24 hours.

Unfortunately some groups ignore these notices and the council then has to apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a Section 78 Order of this act. This takes a few days longer but it can then be enforced.

While everyone in the council works hard to keep the process running as quickly as possible, they must follow national laws.

Future Prevention

As part of the A6MARR scheme Hazel Grove received a sum of money for complementary measures because we will see a small decrease in traffic though the town when the road opens. This money can be spent on transport related improvments. As the travellors park on the public highway we can use some of this money on measures to prevent the illegal occupation problem.

We wrote about the complementary measures in an earlier post here:

The changes to be made at Melford road include improvements to the pavements and installation of barriers which will restrict unauthorised access while allowing local businesses to continue to operate.