Keith, Graham and Iain

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Thousands more houses…but still no plan to deal with the traffic

by Iain Roberts on 16 November, 2015

Thousands of new houses are coming to Cheshire East … the question is how we deal with the traffic.

Cheshire East Council are working on their “local plan” that sets out how many houses they’ll allocate to different parts of the county. The Government has set requirements which mean Cheshire East have no choice but to allow thousands more houses to be built. Their current plan will see hundreds of new houses between Poynton and Woodford, over 2,000 around Handforth Dean and hundreds more north of Wilmslow, meaning the best part of 4,000 new houses near the Stockport boundary over the coming years.

Cheshire East is also looking to expand the Handforth Dean shopping area, leading to even more traffic up and down the A34. We’ve objected to the proposals, but we don’t hold much hope of being listened to.

The main route from those houses into Manchester is of course up the A34 through Cheadle and Gatley.

For more than two years, the Lib Dems have been challenging Cheshire East Council to explain how they will work with us to deal with all the extra traffic. For all that time, they’ve refused, claiming that 4,000 new homes won’t cause much of a problem!

We are now concerned because the Government are putting pressure on the planning inspectors to pass local plans. Previously the inspector threw out Cheshire East’s plan, in part because they hadn’t addressed the traffic issues. We hope that the plan won’t be passed by the inspector, but it’s possible that because of the pressure from government it will be pushed through anyway.

The Lib Dems will continue to stand up to Cheshire East Council and demand that the effects of all the extra traffic are mitigated. 

If that means money to sort out the Kingsway junction (and it’s hard to see how any traffic plan could avoid sorting out the Kingsway/Gatley Road junction and still work) then that’s what we need to happen.

Stockport have a similar issue – we are required by the Government to build lots more homes, and exactly how many more will be worked out over the next couple of years as part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. The question for Stockport is the same: not whether we want the homes or not (we’re going to get them) but where they should be built and how we deal with the traffic and the extra pressure on schools and medical centres. Thankfully, the Lib Dems in Stockport aren’t burying our heads in the sand over those issues – we’re working hard to find the best solutions to benefit our area.

   18 Comments

18 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    Cones and barriers everywhere, still no sign of anyone actually doing any work, I drive up the A34 every day and haven’t seen a workman for months, pathetic.

  2. Manuel Golding says:

    Iain,
    You may remember Residents of Wilmslow (RoW), myself & a colleague, along with a couple of members of Hands off Handforth’s Green Belt visited your ward meeting in February 2014. You and other SMBC ward meetings allowed us to express our concerns at Cheshire East Council’s house and employment sites developments in the CEC Local Plan. Our impression was that you all expressed some surprise at the number of builds planned by CEC, the impact on local roads, infrastructure etc without prior in depth consultations with your council.
    It strikes us that nothing very much has changed.
    CEC us planning to build some 2300 homes on the Green Belt divider between SMBC & CEC at Handforth East; upwards of 900 homes in Wilmslow and added to your building of some 850 homes at Woodford, will only result in daily log jammed traffic along the A34 & SEMMS roads.
    You rightly point out that Stockport is required to build large numbers of housing.
    Where indeed will you put them?
    RoW has often suggested to CEC that it must look to preserve the vital block on urban sprawl at Handforth; we’ve suggested to it and to the Inspector at the LPs review that it makes sound planning sense to build on less strategic GB sites, for example to the south of Macclesfield. CEC is not keen on the idea as it stands to make millions by selling its Handforth land to developers. Money appears to be its basic reason for over loading your A34 & SEMMS roads.
    RoW has also asked questions as to the “proven need” to build so many homes in this area? The question is always, as you’ve stated, answered that it part of the Government’s needs. But, where is this housing shortage evident in CEC? No answer. Yes, we realise there is a great need around the Greater London area, but here?
    If you see amy merit in talking with RoW, please contact me via my email address or on 07930 377778.
    Incidentally, we won a CEC seat at Dean Row from the Conservatives, and only just missed out on another Wlm ward, on this very issue and have a Wilmslow TC councillor. We are getting our concerns across to the local neighbourhoods.
    Regards,
    Manuel Golding

  3. Bruce says:

    Never mind Handforth – which may never happen – what about the Barnes hospital site which is happening NOW!
    More traffic for the area and in particular the A34/Gatley Road junction.
    Why was this development allowed?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Bruce – Barnes was allowed for two reasons. Firstly, it’s the only way we can save the historic building. Second, of all the places you might build 150 new homes, it causes fewer problems than most. As part of the approval, there was mitigation for the traffic built in. That’s the issue – not the homes being built (we need them, and the Government makes sure we build them) but where they are built and whether the effects on traffic are mitigated against.

      • Bruce says:

        As I see it there has been no mitigation – the flow of traffic around there will only increase. Also, most of the traffic leaving the new development and heading for the M60, in either direction, will use the shortest most direct route – namely through the South Park estate. Has anybody told them?

      • Halifax says:

        The only mitigation plan I have hear is that of an improved cycle lane !

        This development is going to add even more to the chaos of this junction.

        Iain please can you inform us how drivers wanting to access/leave the M60 from and to this development will do so without using the Kingsway Gatley Junction?

  4. Neville says:

    When the Handforth bypass was first built we missed an opportunity to make developers pay for a flyover on the A34 at the Gatley lights. It was obvious it was needed then and with the proposed new houses it’s now a necessity.

    Can S106 and commuted sum payments from developers be allocated to pay for this??

  5. Halifax says:

    Iain you keep on stating that we need new houses.

    Rather than keep building, would it not be better to reduce part of the cause of this demand, which is NET immigration every year since 1997 of between 2-300,000. What is year party doing to tackle that, or is the only plan to build more houses to accommodate them?

    • Tyrone says:

      Of course its immigrants why there is a demand for housing, rather than children being born and eventually wanting to move out to get their own house!

      The amount of immigrants compared to the amount of people wanting to move out of their parent’s house is tiny. What’s that show on telly called? 1 born every minute? Suppose all these new kids should just live in their parent’s houses for the rest of their lives? pfft

      • Jane says:

        To be fair though, there IS also people dying every minute too.

      • Halifax says:

        Tyronne, please do the maths, every year since 1997 we have had net increase of between 2-300,000 every single year. Don’t these people need houses, and don’t their children?

        It equate to a net increase of approx. 4.5 million people…that is a lot of houses. And again they have children who will require houses

  6. Rick says:

    Bring in a congestion charge like London. I know we had a referendum a few years back which rejected the idea – but I think it time that a congestion charge should just be imposed and get the hundreds of lazy motorists off the roads and on to public transport.

    • Halifax says:

      Rick, (BTW I cycle to work so don’t blame me for congestion)

      The problem is that many of these new developments do not have ready access to public transport.

      The new development at Woodford will have very limited access to public transport that will link to where people work. So the only option in many cases is to drive.

      Even drive and park at train stations is often a non starter as many don’t have the necessary parking

      • Alan Gent says:

        Good point Halifax, which is why no development should be granted unless it also pays for PT transport
        Links to be built. This should have applied for example to th Trafford Centre all those years ago and it’s still not connected.
        But as to CEC, one option is just to leave them to it. Every day they will sit in their queue, spurning the train that runs parallel and every day they’ll lose a little more hair – and wonder why they bought that stupid house in Cheshire East!

        • Halifax says:

          Alan – The solution is called ‘joined up thinking’, but unfortunately, those that we elect at national and local level appear to be unable to do it

    • Trevor Gaunt says:

      Before condemning “lazy motorists”, I suggest you read today’s article about Northern Rail’s treatment of commuters. You might then understand why people persist in using their cars, despite the extra hassle of driving in heavy traffic and costs of fuel, parking and all the other expenses associated with car ownership as opposed to doing without a personal vehicle and using our decrepit, utterly inadequate and now even subversive public transport systems. A congestion charge might pay for some long overdue improvements, but most likely any proceeds (I say “any” because there’s no guarantee that revenues will outweigh the costs of collection.) would be swallowed up in the cauldron of general taxation. However, the carrot should come before the stick: the investment in public transport is needed NOW.

  7. David Johnson says:

    I can only and vehemently agree with the general tenor of the preceding views. The only planning that has ruled governments over the previous thirty years (apart from self-re-election) has been in finance sheets and it perseveres. The health and welfare of human beings and life in general has been ignored by financial accountancy.
    For example, why is there such a need for so many to travel to and fro to Manchester centre daily? Are there really so many jobs there? Why not insist that much employment is transferred closer to existing and especially new house builds – it will save massively on transport costs, pollution and noise. Sink holes are trying to show the way!!!!

  8. Robert Cohen says:

    Public transport isn’t up to it. The creation of token cycle lanes will only marginally reduce the population in heavily congested areas. A flyover at the lights won’t happen due to the cost of CPO’s and blight to the remaining property. By comparison to some countries that ar still referred to as ‘third world’ or ‘developing’ we seem to be amateurs at road and infrastructure building.

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