It’s 16 years since Stockport Council first launched its plan to put a dual carriageway through the borough’s wonderful Goyt and Poise Brook Valleys (pictured) and the green spaces of Offerton and Hazel Grove. When will our civic leaders finally admit that their proposed A6-M60 Bypass (between Hazel Grove and Bredbury) is a useless and destructive white elephant?
The Council’s applications for Government funding for the Bypass have failed three times in three years. But, the Bypass remains stubbornly at the heart of the Council’s new transport strategy SEMMMS Refresh, which is awaiting sign-off.
Including the Bypass in SEMMMS Refresh makes a nonsense of the transport strategy. The Bypass would generate extra traffic and create new problems of congestion, as well as ruining wonderful green belt – all at the massive cost of £500 million.
Stockport Council’s most recent funding application for the A6-M60 Bypass was turned down last August by the quango Transport for the North (TfN) on behalf of the Government. The Council was previously turned down for funding in 2018 and 2016.
Stockport Council officials will now be hoping that they can get the Bypass into the Government’s roads budget for 2025 onwards. A new focus on “the North” is likely to produce some extra transport funds earlier than this. The Government even backed trams for Stockport during the recent election campaign. The huge cost of the A6-M60 Bypass will make it difficult to squeeze in alongside other expensive projects, such as trams.
It is not clear when SEMMMS Refresh will next be discussed by the Council. The Labour group of councillors, who currently lead the Council, are becoming disenchanted with the Bypass plan. On the other hand, the Bypass is strongly backed by the Liberal Democrats who may well take over leadership of the Council following the 2020 local elections.
Advocates of the Bypass often attempt to sow confusion by saying they just want to obtain further information by seeking funding for a new business case. This is just evasion. Under Government rules, a funded business case would lead directly to construction of the Bypass. The business case proposed by the Council would not include an assessment of the damage the Bypass would do to nature and green spaces. So much for the desire for information!
Rather than sticking unquestioningly to the bypass plan, thw Council needs to learn lessons from the problems of the new Airport Road A555, which cost £290 million and has been closed three times in a year. The Airport Road has worsened the severe congestion and pollution on the A6 in High Lane and Disley.
Opposition to the Bypass can have real influence even if it does not manage to change the Council’s policy. The Government wants to fund popular projects, not ones that will be dogged by criticism. In November 2017 we presented a 7,000-signature petition opposing the Bypass.
Our current petition calling on the Council to drop the Bypass from its SEMMMS Refresh is at https://tinyurl.com/TreesNotConcrete
(SEMMMS is short for “South East Manchester Multi Modal Study/Strategy”.)
Goyt Hall on the edge of the Bypass route. See more Valley Art.
A really bad idea
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.
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.
Contact our website group to tell us what you think, or to ask to be kept informed or to become more involved.
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