Stockport Council’s third attempt to get funding for its A6-M60 Bypass plan has ended in fiasco. The Bypass failed to make the Northern short list of road schemes to be considered for Government funding.
The Bypass would devastate green belt, create new traffic problems and be bad for the climate – so this latest setback for the project is cause for celebration. The news comes hard on the heels of the abysmal 9-day closure of the Council’s A555/Airport Road which is unable to cope with rain storms.
The exclusion of the Bypass from the funding short list has not been made public, and reasons for the decision have not been stated. But we do know that the Greater Manchester authority did not meet a May 31st deadline to pledge a £70 million “local contribution” towards the Bypass’s huge estimated cost of £477 million.
In documents obtained through Freedom of Information, Greater Manchester’s Transport Strategy Director questioned the impact of the Bypass on Greater Manchester’s key roads and Stockport’s new A555 Airport Road. He noted that political opinion in Stockport is “not unanimously in favour”.
Greater Manchester’s point about opinion in Stockport shows that our efforts to oppose the Bypass have had some effect.
The process of short-listing Northern road schemes only came to light at all through our questions and information requests, following an excellent tip-off.
The quango Transport for the North (TfN) did the short-listing which had to be completed by 31st July 2019. TfN and Stockport Council officials had hoped no one would know what was going on. So much for that! On May 17th Transport for the North grumbled to Stockport Council: “Have you any thoughts about how this came into the public domain?”
Stockport Council was previously turned down for funding for the Bypass in 2018 and 2016 – so it has now had three refusals in three years.
It is important that this latest Bypass funding fiasco has been forced out into the open, showing yet again the shambles surrounding the Council’s road-building ambitions.
Council officials will be aiming to reapply for funding at the next opportunity. Surely it’s time our elected councillors called a halt to these desperate attempts to build this appalling road? Our petition calling on the Council to drop its Bypass plan is at https://tinyurl.com/TreesNotConcrete
A Stockport treasure under threat
The A6-M60 Bypass would link the Airport Road at Hazel Grove with the M60 at Bredbury. It would do great damage to four miles of green belt along the route.
One of Stockport’s treasures, the beautiful Goyt Valley, would be ruined. The valley brings countryside, peace and fresh air to within a mile of the town centre.
A hidden gem, the Poise Brook Valley Nature Reserve, would also be devastated, along with important green space between Offerton and Bosden Farm estates and four wildlife sites (designated Sites of Biological Importance) in Torkington.
The Bypass would bring noise and reduced air quality to areas along its route. Another consequence would be an increased risk of flooding on the flood plains of Poise Brook and the Goyt as the climate changes. By increasing use of cars and expanding traffic to Manchester Airport, the Bypass would make its own contribution to global warming (see Step off the gas!)
The Bypass would create extra traffic and cause new congestion hotspots (as happened with the M60). This is because:
- New road schemes attract drivers to make journeys that they haven’t made before. Experts call this “induced traffic”. It clogs up many new roads
- Some local roads will get short-term relief relief from the Bypass, but they are likely to fill up again
- Seven junctions with traffic lights will cause tailbacks (see map) on the Bypass and surrounding roads.
- Junctions and roads leading to the Bypass will become congested – like High Lane which is already more jammed up from the new Airport Road.
- The new Airport Road itself will become much busier. There is already peak-hour congestion around the Airport.
Stockport needs alternatives to using the car – not more dependency on cars.
A magnificent petition of 7,061 signatures opposing the Bypass was presented to Stockport Council in November 2017, when councillors nevertheless voted for preparations for the scheme to continue.
Since then, the Council’s Airport Road A555 has been completed a year behind schedule and with mixed results. The A555 has been closed by flooding twice since it opened in October 2018.
Perhaps councillors will take some lessons from the troubles of the Airport Road. Continuing to put the A6-M60 Bypass at the centre of the SEMMMS transport plans makes the Council’s strategy a lop-sided, unrealistic promotion of outdated 1970s road-building-addicted transport.
(SEMMMS is short for “South East Manchester Multi Modal Study/Strategy”.)
View Councillor Sheila Bailey speaking passionately against the Bypass at the Stockport Cabinet meeting on 14th November 2017. See what the Bypass would do to Stockport’s Goyt Valley at https://goo.gl/EnCunu. Read the latest developments on our NEWS PAGE. Visit our facebook pages: www.facebook.com/GoytValleySOSandGoyt and Poise Valleys SOS. To get more involved, contact us. The first draft of the Council’s SEMMMS Refresh strategy document is here; we have a summary and critique.
The main contents of this website are:
- The A6-M60 Bypass would devastate the wonderful Lower Goyt Valley – which should be one of Stockport’s treasures. The valley brings countryside to within a mile of the town centre. Lower Bredbury and ancient Crookilley Woods would also suffer. Explore the route from Bredbury;
- Another beautiful valley would be severely damaged. It’s a nature reserve and a site of unique geology: Magic in the woods at Poise Brook;
- The Offerton estate, Bosden Farm and the top of Hazel Grove would lose their shield against urban noise and pollution: Precious green spaces from Foggbrook to Torkington;
- Fields and woods including four sites of biological importance would be at risk as the Bypass approaches the A6: Losing fine countryside in Torkington (new article);
- Schools and major roads should not go together, but they would do with the Bypass: Seven schools next to the route;
- The Bypass will not solve Stockport’s traffic problems. It is a plan for trying to deal with the problems of too much car dependency by creating even more: The Bypass won’t work!
- The Bypass’s unbuilt predecessor, the A6(M), is responsible for dangerous J25 junction dysfunction (article rewritten and re-illustrated).
- Stockport Council has just completed one major road scheme. It was a year behind schedule and is likely to break air pollution laws: Bumpy Airport Road (new article);
- Poison air is the biggest killer on the roads. The Bypass would make it worse (new article);
- We have news of what’s happening; and not-so-new news.
- The latest Bypass plans are from 2006 – but only published in 2017: We have added notes to copies of the plans. The source is the Council’s 2006 plans pages 1-9 of Appendix 1 of the Strategic Business Case (which can be magnified for detail).
- We have a examined the first draft of SEMMMS Refresh and its road-building plans: SEMMMS Rehash.
- The Business Case published in 2017 outrageously spun, selected and distorted information to foist an expensive and destructive road on us: see our review of the information appendices and our (lengthy) comments on the main document.
Architect James Dyson has modelled the northern part of the A6-M60 route to show that the land bulldozed would be greater than the official plan shows. The illustration above is his view of the junction next to Dial Park School. The yellow areas show cuttings and earthworks according to the plan; the dark green areas are further areas of land that will need to be taken. See all of James’ model.
Main sources used on this website:
- Full environmental report 2003: SEMMMS Major Road Schemes Stage 2 Environmental Assessment (available from Stockport MBC)
- The route, including both M60 to A6 and A6 to M56: South East Manchester Multi Modal Strategy, Annex E, Appraisal of SEMMMS New Relief Road July 2004 (available from Stockport MBC)
- A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road Transport Assessment Main Text October 2013 http://a6marr.stockport.gov.uk/746597/760095/760276
- Stockport MBC’s strategy: “SEMMMS new relief road scheme – results and conclusions of initial assessment” October 31, 2003 (can be found by search engines)
- Department for Transport’s Note DFTQ9 – Forecast Usage of the Proposed SEMMMS Relief Road (Freedom of Information request) 2004
- SMBC’s Stage 1 Feasibility Study A6-M60 Relief Road
- SMBC’s Strategic Outline Busines Case for the A6-M60 Relief Road.
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