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.

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.

Cllr Ankers Supports Chris Boardman’s Made To Move Campaign

New LibDem Councillor Paul Ankers has pledged to support Chris Boardman’s ‘Made To Move’ scheme that aims to deliver better walking & cycling options in Greater Manchester.

Cllr Paul Ankers commented, “We need to get more people out of cars, but it can be a scary prospect being a pedestrian or cyclist in Greater Manchester – even in Hazel Grove. One of my priorities is to improve that situation.”

You can download the full plan HERE

Proposed Bus Route Changes (372/373)

TfGM will be reporting a number of proposals to change subsidised bus services to the July 6th Committee meeting.

The proposed major changes are to service 372 (Stockport – Woodsmoor – Stepping Hill – Torkington – Hazel Grove).

The proposal is to maintain an hourly service on the busiest section of service 372 (between Stockport, Midland Road estate and Woodsmoor) with the section between Stepping Hill, Torkington and Hazel Grove replaced by new service 373.

Service 373 – Would operate hourly between Stockport and Stepping Hill (replacing that section of service 173) and extend to Torkington and Hazel Grove (replacing that section of service 372.)

Service 373 provides a more direct link to Stockport for residents of Torkington and Hazel Grove as well as providing much requested later journeys for them and to and from London Road (south of the Rising Sun), journeys that were lost when (Cheshire East Council) service 391 was revised in April 2018.

If you have any concerns, please contact your new Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ankers via [email protected]

th Committee meeting.

The proposed major changes are to service 372 (Stockport – Woodsmoor – Stepping Hill – Torkington – Hazel Grove).

The proposal is to maintain an hourly service on the busiest section of service 372 (between Stockport, Midland Road estate and Woodsmoor) with the section between Stepping Hill, Torkington and Hazel Grove replaced by new service 373.

Service 373 – Would operate hourly between Stockport and Stepping Hill (replacing that section of service 173) and extend to Torkington and Hazel Grove (replacing that section of service 372.)

 Service 373 provides a more direct link to Stockport for residents of Torkington and Hazel Grove as well as providing much requested later journeys for them and to and from London Road (south of the Rising Sun), journeys that were lost when (Cheshire East Council) service 391 was revised in April 2018.

If you have any concerns, please contact your new Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ankers via [email protected]

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

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.

Hazel Grove A6 One of Most Congested in the Country

In a new report the A6 through Hazel Grove is again shown to be one of the most congested stretches of road in the country.  This time, only seven roads across the whole of the country, other than London, are worse.

The average total number of hours people waste stuck in the traffic through Hazel Grove is 32 hours a year !

The total cost to the UK for all the queueing in 2017 was £37.7 billion.

The A6 to M60 Road would connect with the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road

Cllr Jon Twigge said, “The proposed A6 to M60 road would completely bypass most of the congested stretch of the A6 transforming the centre of Hazel Grove and allowing us to regenerate the town much more easily.”

More details from the report for the UK are at: http://inrix.com/press-releases/scorecard-2017-uk/

Fiveways Junction Regularly Blocked

With the growing traffic along Macclesfield Road the junction with Dean Lane and Mill Lane has been getting steadily busier.

At busy times there are often queues at the junction and more people are failing to keep it clear.

Recently talking to the residents of Mill Lane a number of people all commented on how difficult it can be at times with the junction blocked.   To try to alleviate the problem we are calling for a yellow box junction to keep it clear for people travelling across Macclesfield Road.

Box junctions are designed to keep junctions clear.  The highway code says that you should only enter a box junction if your exit road is clear or if you are waiting to turn right.