Keith, Graham and Iain

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Concern over traffic from 3,750 new houses

by Iain Roberts on 24 September, 2015

Graham Greenhalgh and Iain Roberts at the Kingsway junction

Graham Greenhalgh and Iain Roberts at the Kingsway junction

Cheshire East Council have issued their latest plans for new housing, including nearly 4,000 new houses to be built near to the Stockport border.

The Lib Dems fully support new houses being built – they are needed for our communities in both Cheshire and Stockport.

We also hope that the correct process has been followed to ensure houses are only built on greenfield sites where there is no viable alternative – the Planning Inspector will be considering that issue.

We are very worried about the traffic all these new houses will generate.

900 new homes around Wilmslow, 650 between Poynton and Woodford and 2,200 between Handforth and Cheadle Hulme. 3,750 in total. The majority have already been allocated land, butCheshire East doesn’t know exactly where 1,100 of them will be built, which means land that was expected to remain as green fields under the previous plan may be built on under the new one.

Housing is important, but just as critical are the transport links, schools, doctors’ surgeries and other amenities to support all those people.

The logic behind building those houses near to Stockport is that most people will come to jobs in Stockport and Manchester. That’s fine – but how will they get there? Where are the cars going to go? Down the already over-congested A34? Bus services are poor as are train services from Handforth and Poynton.

The Lib Dems will continue to put pressure on Conservative-run Cheshire East to come up with proper plans to improve transport links. We are calling on local Conservative MP Mary Robinson to support our call. This issue has been around for well over a year and we are no aware of any comments from Mary Robinson about it, despite the massive effect it will have on the lives of people across Cheadle constituency.

 

 

   33 Comments

33 Responses

  1. Chris Leuty says:

    Does this number include the proposed 900+ houses on the Woodford aerodrome site?

  2. bruce says:

    Iain answer the above – all the potential traffic problems when Woodford materialises – not to mention Barnes on the A34

  3. Iain Roberts says:

    Chris, Bruce,

    The number doesn’t include the Woodford development (which is in Stockport, not Cheshire East) so the numbers are on top of that.

    Part of the Woodford development costs are paying for improvements in the roads around the area. Additionally, the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road is a key enabler. Until the road is completed, Woodford is limited (I think to about 300 extra houses).

    Similarly, Barnes – though much smaller at 150 homes – is already north of the Kingsway junction and the biggest traffic flows are into Manchester. Part of the Barnes development is to improve the junction onto the A34 and also the (already completed) improvements to the pedestrian/cycle path to Cheadle.

    As I said in the article, this is *not* about saying no to housing. We simply need the Conservatives in Cheshire East to do the same work we’ve done for Woodford and Barnes and explain how the traffic effects will be mitigated.

    • bruce says:

      150 homes equates to over 300 vehicles which will exacerbate the problems at the notorious Gatley Road junction not to mention the new junction outside Barnes

      • Iain Roberts says:

        Bruce,

        We need to build more homes in Stockport. Not only do we need homes for our children to live in, the Government sets targets. The question isn’t whether we build but where to build.

        The Barnes site is actually a pretty good location. It’s north of the Kingsway junction so its effect will be much more limited than the same number of houses built to the south.

        As I say, this isn’t about not building houses, and it isn’t about pretending that new development can have no effect at all on an area.

        It’s about having a proper transport plan to mitigate the effects of building. That’s what we *do* have for both Barnes and Woodford, but what Cheshire East currently *don’t* have for their development proposals. That’s what we’re pressing for.

        • bruce says:

          So what you are really saying is that the Libdems do things right but the Tories don’t

          • Iain Roberts says:

            I’m saying that both Woodford and Barnes have proper transport plans to mitigate the effect but, even after nearly two years of asking, the same isn’t true for Cheshire East Council’s proposals. That’s not just me saying that, by the way, it’s the government’s independent planning inspector.

            The Lib Dems believe it’s absolutely essential that Cheshire East explain how they are going to mitigate against the extra traffic these nearly-4000 houses around Poynton, Wilmslow and Handforth will put onto Stockport’s roads. I don’t think that’s very controversial and I would hope our local Conservatives would join with us in that call, though I don’t believe they’ve said anything yet.

          • Halifax says:

            An improved cycle path and pedestrian way is not a transport plan that will make any meaningful mitigation to the traffic that will came through the Cheadle/Gatley junction.

            When it came to traffic you, and the rest of the Stockport LibDems have failed your constituents of Cheadle and Gatley

          • Iain Roberts says:

            I disagree – the combination of the different approaches (because of course it isn’t just the path, which is the smaller part) is suitable and we’ve come up with a way to save Barnes Hospital. I appreciate your political leanings are not towards us though!

        • Halifax says:

          Iain, My political leaning used to be very much towards the LibDems.

  4. Margaret Parker says:

    There is already absolute traffic chaos at Stanley Green and is causing significant serious disruption in the period of development. Will someone please explain what is happening and when!. .

  5. paul says:

    Iain, whilst the barnes hospital plan is north of the Kingsway junction, any traffic leaving the site wanting access to the m60 motorway will have to travel south and do a u turn on gatley road, we know far too many cars already do that and this will add to the problem. what plans are in place to help prevent this happening? These cars all add to congestion at the junction, but only use it to save themselves time in heading north on Kingsway.

    Kingsway/ gatley road junction needs a permanent underpass building on the Kingsway stretch to enable cars to drive north and south at all times with no traffic lights. The lights can then be altered to enable more traffic through on gatley road, leading to less congestion. I know the underpass, even if only one lane each way, may require conpulsary purchase orders on some houses bordering the junction to enable the junction to be reprofiled, but surely that is a small price to pay to sort the junction out. Things will only get worse until this happens.

    Any developer building houses on land that borders the a34 should have to contribute towards this cost.

  6. Halifax says:

    Perhaps if the LibDems, when in power had tried to reduce net immigration into the UK (an approx NET gain of 300,000 each year you were in power) then just perhaps we wouldn’t need quite so many houses.

    The way we’re going there will be no open spaces between Manchester and Alderley Edge in 20 years

  7. Kaleem Latif says:

    The gatley road junction has been an ongoing problem. It has gone worse over the past four years. Should the problems that are still pending not be sorted out before trying to start new development in surrounding areas which will have a huge impact on traffic (once again another can of worms is being opened up).

  8. Halifax says:

    Kaleem, many residents would agree with you, unfortunately those that they elect do not – hence the ongoing and worsening problem.

  9. Iain Roberts says:

    Kaleem – yes, absolutely! That’s why we’re pressing for Cheshire East to have a proper plan to deal with the transport.

    Can we stop all development? No – that’s not in our power, and there’s a balance to be struck as new houses are important.

    The Lib Dems do everything we can to improve the Kingsway junction and will continue to do so.

  10. Halifax says:

    Iain – The only way you can improve the junction is to reduce the traffic, not by increasing it.

    The developments by Cheshire East, and by our very own Council at Woodford and Barnes Hospital will only increase traffic at this junction…. no matter how many cycles lanes you improve.

    I went to a meeting at Kingsway school about 20 years ago about the problems at this junction. Even then it was regarded as a major issue and even then it had a volume of traffic to justify a motorway style fly-over. Since that time, the Council have approved developments that have made the problem far worse.

    So, our elected leaders have known about this problem for over 20 years and have done nothing but add to the problem (I don’t include tinkering with the lights and lanes as addressing the issue), and continue to vote for developments that will make it worse.

    • Gray says:

      Re Halifax September 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm. You say the only way you can improve the junction is to reduce the traffic, not by increasing it. Really? How do we divert traffic away from it without passing the congestion to somewhere else? Traffic density never decreases. It’s Darwinism, cars are part of us as a society now. And we will go on like that until we are all stationary in a traffic queue or the council imposes CPO’s on the houses around that junction and builds a spaghetti junction there.
      The CE development should be banned. And any similar such proposals around Greater Manchester too.

  11. Mr S Powell says:

    My message is simple – greenfield should NEVER be built on – and Stockport Councillors are doing the people who voted for them a great disservice. Once Greenfields have been built on – they are lost for ever – not tho mention the terrible Traffic Congestion that we all suffer from.

    • Gray says:

      September 28, 2015 at 11:51 am
      Mr Powell – i fully agree.
      Iain – i think most people on this comment want to help our children and grandchildren to have a decent future by preserving our greenbelt. A road-rail-bus-cycle integrated cost-effective transport network is key.

  12. Iain Roberts says:

    I guess the challenge is that we all only have houses because someone built on a green field. We want to protect our green fields as best we can, but we also need homes for our children and grandchildren, and to improve the transport system to get everyone around. We need to work with the community to find the right balance.

    • Halifax says:

      Well I guess if our elected Leaders had not allowed mass immigration ( and a net gain of between 200-300,000 every year is ‘mass’), then perhaps we would not have need to build on our green spaces.

      And I know that most of these new developments do not go to immigrants, but immigrants have to live somewhere and no doubt cause a displacement, hence the need to build on every patch of land we see.

  13. Iain Roberts says:

    Halifax,

    To suggest we’ve done nothing about the problem is, I’m afraid, simply nonsense. We’ve worked hard to improve the junction whenever we’ve had the opportunity and we’re also looking at the wider strategic approach to see how we can move people around without increasing traffic at the junction.

    The reality is that traffic has increased in the last few years, as the economy has recovered, but because of the improvements we’ve made the accident record at the junction has improved and the queues have got no worse.

    We’re very keen to find longer term solutions, but they are just that – they don’t happen overnight and I’m not going to be the sort of politician that pretends otherwise to get a few votes.

    We’ve never pretended the Kingsway junction has an easy solution or a quick fix. We’ve always been honest with people and we’ll continue to do that.

  14. Halifax says:

    Iain – you are missing the point.

    The only thing that will make any difference is to reduce the traffic, the Council have done little else but approve of developments, which by their nature increase the traffic – therefore Stockport Council are responsible for making it worse.

  15. David Johnson says:

    Green space is a necessary part of each community. It contributes to a community cohesion by outlying dwellings, it allows leisure activities within walking distance of homes – very important for health and traffic reduction and is most important for local children as a natural learning space. The arguments touted by the political process are short-term and rarely cover the long term loss to local society. At school we sang of “Englands green and pleasant land”!!!!!

  16. Halifax says:

    I really don’t understand Cllr Roberts stand on these issues.

    My understanding of a local councillor is that they represent the constituents of the ward that voted him in.

    So does Cllr Roberts really believe that the constituents in Cheadle/Gatley support house building that will inevitably increase traffic at the Kingsway junction or does he not care or represent their views?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Yes, most people I speak to think that we do need more homes for our children and grandchildren to live in, a figure backed up by national opinion polls (e.g. http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2015-04-24-Latest-YouGov-poll-shows-one-in-five-think-housing-is-a-top-election-issue)

      We need to tackle traffic alongside that, of course.

      • Halifax says:

        Perhaps, when you speak with residents you should ask if they support new homes that will increase the traffic at the Gatley Junction.

        This is one constituent, who doesn’t – but if you’re right and more support housing development than don’t, then you are 100% right to support house building.

        I cycle to and from work and I can filter through the traffic, but I can see the anger/frustration from drivers at that junction. And the air quality for homes near that junction must be dreadful.

        As I stated in an earlier post, the traffic at the junction has been an issue for at least 20 years, and in all that time more and more traffic has been added due to housing developments approved by the Council on or near the A34. No amount of tinkering with the lights or modifying the lanes has reduced the congestion by any significant amount.

        And I know that the Council think that the new By-Pass will solve everything, experience tells me it won’t. It will just allow traffic to get to the bottlenecks a bit quicker

        • Iain Roberts says:

          If you go back to the original article you’re commenting on, you’ll see we’re making exactly the same point: that we need more homes, but the transport infrastructure has to be taken into account.

          We need more homes. The challenge – and no-one is suggesting it’s easy – is to improve the transport links alongside those homes so everyone can still get around. The junction is a bad one – we do everything we can to improve it and there are some longer term issues.

          I’ve never heard anyone at the council suggest the new by-pass will solve everything – that’s a new one on me. It will improve some things.

          • Halifax says:

            I’m just picking up an a earlier post , where you appear to indicate that most people you speak to support more house building in Stockport. That appear odd, because on this forum you are the only one who supports it.

            Perhaps you are selective with who you talk with

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