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.