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.

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.

Planning Officers Recommend Approval for McCarthy and Stone Development

After lengthy discussion and negotiation with McCarthy and Stone, planning officers are recommending that their plan for 40 new apartments on Commercial Road at the site of the former Royal Oak should be approved.

A strong argument for the plans were the need for housing generally especially given that Stockport’s housing plans are getting older and more likely to be challenged by developers.

Major factors in the negotiation were the loss of the recreational green space that was the bowling green behind the Royal Oak and a lack of affordable homes in the new building. To offset these requirements McCarthy and Stone will be required to pay substantial sums toward facilities at Torkington Park and alternative affordable housing elsewhere.

In the end, the application did not receive many objections from the public and the application will come before the Stepping Hill Area Committee for a recommendation by local councillors on the 10th July and the full planning meeting after that.

More details are in the agenda for the Area Committee on the council website: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=25550&x=1  Item 5 (i)

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.

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.

 

Parking to Cost 50% More in Hazel Grove

Despite the efforts of the Liberal Democrat group with an amendment to the Labour budget that included a call to block the increase in parking charges in Stockport District Centres the increase was approved by a vote in the full council.

The cost of one hour in our council car parks will increase from 20p to 30p.  When you consider that there are some large shopping centres within around half an hour’s drive from Hazel Grove where parking is free this is another blow to our hard pressed local traders.

Traders Under Ever More Pressure Despite A Long History of the Town

“I was disappointed that our amendment to the budget was blocked despite support from local councillors here in Hazel Grove.  Personally I would really have liked to see the increased funds for the business rates staff as well – I know from the local business I work in they are always very busy indeed,” said local Lib Dem Councillor, Jon Twigge.

Stockport Lib Dems pledge to freeze parking charges in district centres

Stockport Liberal Democrats have pledged to freeze parking charges in district centres if they regain control at the Town Hall following this summer’s elections.

Speaking about Labour’s proposals, Cllr Mark Hunter, leader of the Lib Dem Group, said: “Labour are proposing a huge hike in parking charges in some places. In the district centres, they want to scrap the one-hour charge and replace it with a minimum two-hour charge instead, whilst in certain car parks near to railway stations they want to replace the current free parking with hefty charges.

“Labour’s own figures suggest this will mean over a third of the visits to our district shopping centres will cease, which would be a huge blow to our already hard-pressed local traders. The local representative of the Federation of Small Businesses has written to all councillors in protest, highlighting the dangers of this folly.”

Local Cllr, Jon Twigge said, “Here in Hazel Grove, our local shops are already really struggling and we hear about more problems regularly.  Increases in local car park charges like this could be devastating for some businesses.  They might as well put up no shopping signs as implement these huge increases.”

Update on Speeding – Good News

Following my email to the Mayor of Greater Manchester I received a telephone call from a Chief Inspector of Greater Manchester Police about the questions I had raised.  The call was very positive with some good news on Speeding and Dashcam videos.

Dashcam Footage – Operation Considerate

The main web pages on the GM Police website indicate that video from dashboard cameras (Dashcams) can only be sent in using a physical device and only after a crime has been reported via 999 or 101. However, the Chief Inspector tells me there is a new service available as well that has not yet been widely advertised, only via twitter, Operation Considerate.

The instructions on how to use Operation Considerate is at: http://www.gmp.police.uk/content/triage-category?ReadForm&l2=76596&l3=27969

When you have read the instructions you can report cases of moving traffic offenses to an email address: [email protected]

Please note that you must provide all the information described on the web page and that you will then be sent instructions for how to upload the video itself afterwards.

Speeding

The very good news on speeding generally is that Greater Manchester is going to begin to issue radar speed guns to some neighbourhood police officers and PCSO’s. Hopefully, resources permitting, the extra chance of being caught speeding will over time make some people think twice before speeding in our area.

Community Speed Watch

The Chief Inspector was also keen to promote Community Speed Watch. I do know that some people are worried about being seen to be policing their neighbours but the Inspector tells me that Community Speed Watches can be especially useful for cut throughs or rat runs where the local community feel that people from other areas are not respecting their safety.

Community Speed Watch is a national scheme where members of the public can be trained to use radar speed detectors. Drivers caught breaking the speed limit cannot be fined but the police write letters to the owners of the vehicles and where there are a number of offenses can use this to show that police enforcement would be beneficial in the area.

If you would be interested in learning more about Community Speed Watch there is a website at https://www.communityspeedwatch.co.uk. Individual sites have to be checked for safety but if you would like to get involved in the Community Speed Watch and create a new watch you can select Create New Group on the left of the website. And, please let us know if you do so we can support you and let others know who may want to join you.

jon

Road Repairs on Torkington Rd (Overnight Working)

Stockport Council will be carrying out carriageway resurfacing works on London Road from Torkington Road to Church Grove and Torkington Road from London Road to Avondale Avenue. The works started on  the 31st January 2018 and are expected to take approximately 2 weeks to complete, weather permitting. The working hours will be between 8pm and 5am. 

Local Campaigner Paul Ankers said, “This is one of our busiest roads but repairs are vital. I am glad work is taking place overnight. LibDems, when running the Council, prioritised road repairs and schemes like this are part of our £100M investment plan that will still run for another three years.”

During the times stated above it will be necessary to restrict traffic movements along London Road using temporary traffic signals with a road closure notice on Torkington Road. As the work progresses any adjoining roads will also be restricted through closure notices prohibiting traffic entering and exiting onto both London Road and Torkington Road with signed diversions in operation during working times. These measures are in place to minimise disruption to residents and businesses and to allow safe working operations to take place. 

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