Comments on the summer 2017 “SEMMMS Refresh” Consultation
The SEMMMS Refresh consultation is designed to get some sort of public endorsement of the A6-M60 Bypass in advance of the Bypass Business case, which could be rushed through the Council over the next three months or so
SEMMMS is the “multi-modal study” which back in 2001 said Stockport needed a dual carriageway from the Airport to Bredbury plus a tram link and rail, bus and cycling improvements (hence multi transport modes). Sixteen years later Stockport is the only part of Greater Manchester without a tram.
”SEMMMS Refresh” is repeating the line about trams and trains but the only serious bit of the “Refresh” is the A6-M60 Bypass (or Relief Road). Please patiently register on the Council portal and, whenever your opinion on anything is asked, please say you don’t wantthe Bypass through Hazel Grove, Offerton, Goyt Valley and Bredbury” (or something). Say No to the traffic-generating, greenbelt destroying Bypass at http://stockport-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/localplan/stlp?pointId=s1502895109606 There have also been some events with Council staff and councillors.
The stale SEMMMS document
The Council is running a Consultation on the A6-M60 Bypass called “SEMMMS Refresh”. There’s nothing fresh about the Refresh – a big road plus public transport improvements which on past experience may never happen.
SEMMMS first appeared at the turn of the century when it advocated a single road between Bredbury and the Airport via Hazel Grove. Part of this road (A6-Airport) is now being built. Its proposals for trams and railways have not happened.
The renewed public transport and cycling proposals are welcome but they are included in SEMMMS as a supporting act for the A6-M60 Bypass. The Bypass is an old-fashioned big road that will further pump up traffic volumes. We have already seen at Bredbury the collateral damage from ill-thought-out road schemes.
It’s strange that SEMMMS Refresh gives no information about the Bypass itself although SEMMMS is all about building it. The consultation will close on October 8 not long after the Bypass Business Case appears on September 14 – or maybe afterwards since the Business Case is struggling to finish.
If the SEMMMS Refresh Consultation had been launched following publication of the Business Case at least we would be able to find out what the latest proposals are before commenting.
SEMMMS stands for South-East Manchester Multi-modal study. The core of the SEMMMS arguments about multi-modal transport (ie the Bypass plus public transport and cycling) is that if there were less congestion on the roads, buses and cyclists would benefit . It’s claimed that we need a Bypass not only to cut congestion but also to achieve “modal shift” – people switching from cars to other forms of transport.
The flaws in this argument are: 1. the Bypass will create congestion in some places as well as easing it in others. 2. The Bypass and other big road developments in the region will generate more traffic and lead to any congestion gains being reversed sooner or later. 3. Resources wasted on the Bypass cannot be spent on public transport alternatives. The argument that the road is necessary for public transport improvements is the reverse of reality. 4. It’s common sense. Building a Bypass through Torkington, Offerton, the Lower Goyt Valley and Lower Bredbury will not encourage “modal shift”!
Some points from the “Refresh”:
They say three Metrolink extension schemes and other rail schemes are on the way: show us the evidence!
We are told the Bypass is needed to cope with Manchester Airport’s expansion. We say: the airport should only be allowed to expand further if transport to and from the airport is sustainable. There is conflict of interest here because Stockport receives a share of the airport’s profits.
They are committing to robot lorries. This is unbelievable! Our greenbelt is to be destroyed so that robot lorries can drive up and down! With robot vehicles, their numbers are not limited by the size of the human population needed to drive conventional vehicles.
The proposal for a Disley/High Lane Bypass should be treated with caution because it could deliver much more traffic into Stockport and towards the motorways. Also, the Disley/High Lane Bypass would go through the green belt that the people of High Lane have been keen to protect. However, we suspect that this is not a serious proposal and that it has been included in order to get people in High Lane to support the A6-M60 Bypass which would further increase traffic through their village.
Two sections from the document
The 2001 SEMMM Strategy identified a wide range of projects, many of which have, or are in the process of being delivered. Approximately £300 million is being invested in SEMMM Strategy projects including:
- Integrated transport corridors;
- Accessibility improvements to bus stops and transport interchanges;
- The provision of yellow buses;
- Pedestrian and cycling improvements including on and off highway facilities; and
- A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road (A6MARR) scheme including new parallel walking and cycling path – is being delivered and is expected to open in spring 2018;
The projects that have been delivered are currently providing the benefits anticipated and are contributing to the 2001 SEMMM Strategy objectives.
Goyt Valley SOS! comment: A6MARR cost £290 million. Not much for the remainder which includes good ideas but will have very limited impact.
There remain a number of projects from the 2001 SEMMM Strategy Plan which are yet to be delivered, and these include;
- The Poynton Relief Road (PRR) scheme planning application was submitted in September 2016 which has been approved. Cheshire East Council is in the process of developing a business case for the scheme which is anticipated to be submitted to the DfT in late 2017.
- A6 to M60 Relief Road is the final component of the original SEMMM Strategy road scheme. Feasibility work and business case development is being progressed for the scheme.
- Three Metrolink extension schemes which would provide tram connections between Stockport, Rose Hill, and Manchester Airport. These schemes are now being considered as part of a tram-train strategy which could provide an alternative means of delivering the same public transport connectivity improvement as the SEMMM Strategy was recommending.
- There are other rail schemes that are currently ongoing; plans for the urban metro are being progressed via Northern Hub, and alternative rail options are also being reviewed in light of High Speed 2 (HS2) and potential Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).
As part of the SEMMM Strategy Refresh, these outstanding projects will be reviewed and re-evaluated to determine if they meet the current vision and objectives and therefore should be included in the emerging strategy.
Goyt Valley SOS! comment: Three Metrolink extension schemes and other rail schemes: really?
SEMMMS: “potential options in Stockport”
To deliver a transport system which can align to the vision and objectives of the SEMMM Strategy Refresh, co-ordinated planning and investment will be required. The challenges are complex and there is not one single, big fix which can transform the area. The suggested approach is to consider the challenges in a collective way, and look towards multi-modal packages which deliver solutions which complement each other, and create alliances in the transport system where cars, bus, trains, trams, cyclists and walkers integrate seamlessly together.
At present, a broad range of options have been looked at which can help to address some of the transport challenges. These are covered below, showing their alignment to the 10 enabling objectives.
The future priorities for the area could include (in alphabetical order):
- A6 to M60 Relief Road;
- Continued development of the strategic and local cycling and walking networks;
- Increased capacity on the rail network, including a redeveloped Stockport Station;
- Multi-modal improvements on the A34 corridor;
- Metrolink / Tram-Train services to the airport, Stockport, Marple and Hazel Grove;
- New rail stations at Adswood, Cheadle, Stanley Green and High Lane;
- Orbital public transport improvements, including bus priority on the A555.
Goyt Valley SOS! answers to SEMMMS Refresh questions
Does the paper identify the key transport issues and challenges in Stockport?
Goyt Valley SOS! answer: No! One of the key challenges is how to prevent continuing build up of traffic in and through Stockport, and this won’t be done by building the Bypass through local areas and green belt. Is there really any serious public transport expansion under way or are you mentioning this, as in 2001, to get the Bypass agreed?
Are there any other issues or challenges which are missing?
Goyt Valley SOS! answer: Creating a transport plan for Stockport that does not include putting a Bypass through Torkington, Offerton, the Lower Goyt Valley and Lower Bredbury and arguing against the pursuit of policies for traffic growth within the region.
What do you think about the potential options which have been identified for Stockport?
Goyt Valley SOS! answer: There are plenty of good ideas here, but they are present to dress up the unacceptable A6-M60 Bypass. The proposal for a Disley and High Lane Bypass is problematic because it could deliver more traffic into Stockport. Robotic vehicles could pointlessly increase traffic growth.
Are there any other options which you think should be considered?
Goyt Valley SOS! answer: Develop a transport strategy that does not rely on building big roads.