Green field at the back of Windlehurst Road

Local Green Belt in danger

Please sign our petition

While planning for the A6-M60 Bypass continues behind closed doors at Stockport Town Hall, a new threat to the Green Belt has burst out of the back rooms of municipal  offices.

The Combined Greater Manchester Authorities have produced a massive building plan for 225,000 homes. In Stockport all four sites totalling 12,000 homes across the south of the Borough are close to the A6-Airport-M56 road now being built, which would connect to a future A6-M60 Bypass .

  • Woodford 2,400 homes
  • High Lane 4,000 homes (see map, and photo of Windlehurst Road)
  • Cheadle Hulme/Heald Green 3,700 homes
  • Heald Green 2,000 homes

There would also be a Green Belt extension of Bredbury industrial park into the Tame Valley.

Timeline for 12,000-home development

To Dec 23 Devo Manc consultation. Stockport Council may also be discussing the plan.

  1. From now Stockport Council planners work on Master Plan for the sites covering transport and other services
  2. June/July ’17 final proposals followed by six-week consultation
  3. Later in ‘17 plans submitted to Sec of State
  4. Early 2018 Ministerial evaluation (Greater Manchester-wide), a public check that the procedures followed by the local authorities were correct on eg evidence and consultation (Cheshire East’s evaluation has been going for three years)
  5. 2018-19 The final plan must be unanimously adopted by 10 council leaders (in Stockport’s case this may mean all three parties because of no overall control).
  6. ???? Planning applications to follow and go through SMBC Planning Committee.
Map of new housing next to High Lane.

The proposed site for 4,000 houses west and north of High Lane.

The Stockport Master Plan will set out services and mitigation measures which the developers must fund. If the developers can no longer make enough profit as a result, the development could be taken forward through compulsory purchase. Large sites are favoured because they should yield money to pay to upgrade services for the sites.

SMBC says there are too few brownfield sites for the housing required. Nevertheless there are some.

Part of the problem is the legal framework for planning set by Central Government, which gives private developers too much clout. The local authorities need to have a housing plan to protect themselves from developers’ demands to build almost anywhere.  To defend against developers’ lawyers, Devo Manc is using a calculation for growth in housing demand which may be excessive.

The Greater Manchester draft plan and consultation is at https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/info/20081/vision_and_draft_strategic_options

Stop the Bypass to stop the High Lane scheme

The High Lane 4,000-homes development would depend on the planned A6-M60 Bypass to “mitigate” the impact of the new housing on local traffic. Unbelievably, the development is supposed to be planned to have no adverse effects on the locality (apart from destroying fine rolling fields and Green Belt!). But according to a manager from SMBC Planning Department,  without the Bypass, it would be near to impossible to design the development to deliver what they would consider to be a neutral effect on transport .

If you want to stop the housing scheme – support the campaign against the A6-M60 Bypass, and vice versa!

Just a few months to stop the Bypass

Stockport Council could vote to go ahead with the Bypass as early as next spring. The Council’s new Labour leadership has promised a discussion to which “interest groups” can contribute before the vote is taken. The ground rules for such a discussion are not known. We do know, however, that most councillors are likely to support the Bypass unless we can make our voices heard. 

Bypass and Stockport major roads

Bypass: Hazel Grove to Bredbury

The Bypass would be a disaster both for Stockport’s green spaces and for the borough’s transport. The Council has for the past year been working on a “study” for the first stage of a Business Case which would be needed to bid for Government money to build the road. The discussion and vote in Council will happen after this study has been completed. Council leaders say the study will include both pro’s and cons, but we shall see.

Our bluebell walk (pictured below) on May 8 was a glorious spring day for seeing the Goyt and Poise Valleys and Halliday Hill farmhouse – all of which would be ruined by the Bypass. The Lower Goyt Valley is one of the Stockport’s treasures. Putting a massive road through it would be an unbelievably stupid self-inflicted wound upon the borough. The damage the Bypass would do can be seen in the 2004 plans – the latest available.

The bypass would be a four-and-a-half mile dual-carriageway extension of the A6-to-Manchester Airport  “relief road”, which is already under construction (the red route in the map). It’s the latest in a series of new roads claimed to sort out the terrible congestion south of Manchester. The bypass would cost a huge £580 million! The result might not be what people imagine….

More traffic problems The combined bypass and relief road will draw in drivers from the M56, A34, M60 and  A6. A big risk is ratrunning between the motorways whenever the M56 or M60 jam up. To deter drivers from switching from the motorways, junctions along the new roads will be designed to be slow and traffic-signal controlled. But sooner or later the slow junctions are likely to create rush-hour blockages – causing drivers to return to using other routes. Some modest short-term improvements will be achieved on some local roads but in the longer term the bypass could end up a horrendously costly and damaging failure (read more). The jams caused by the M60 in Bredbury demonstrate the unintended consequences that new roads can create. We have 15 ways that the bypass will be bad for drivers.

Tree-lined river in sunshine.

The Goyt in summer.

Fatal pollution Fumes from heavy and congested traffic kill up to 50,000 people a year in the UK (including both NO2 and diesel particles). More traffic equals more deadly pollution in parts of Offerton and Bredbury, despite claims that a new road will make things better.

Damaged lives The dual-carriageway route runs right up against some homes in Bredbury, Foggbrook and Torkington. When it curves through Offerton and Bosden Farm Estates, the nearest homes will be only a stone’s throw away. Residents will suffer intrusive noise and views.  Explore the route to see the potential damage.

Ruined countryside Peaceful fields south of Bredbury will be torn up. A 200-metre long bridge will cross the River Goyt, threatening the valley’s beauty and wildlife.  Ancient Poise Brook valley wood will be severely damaged. The green buffer between Offerton and Offerton Green will be overwhelmed. Torkington’s countryside will suffer.

Lost heritage At Foggbrook the bypass flattens old mill cottages and shaves Halliday Hill Farm – the ancient home of the Dodge family. Just out of Bredbury, close to Tudor Goyt Hall the bypass ploughs through a possible pre-Roman site not yet investigated by archaeologists.

Read more about what would be lost to the road and the damage that it would inflict:

map of the route

 

Main sources used:

  • Full environmental report: 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

Contact our website group to tell us what you think, or to ask to be kept informed or to become more involved.

Walkers on bridge in Poise Brook Valley.