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STOCKPORT/GREATER MANCHESTER: Leaders to sign off ‘important’ £500k Bee Network scheme making it easier to walk or cycle to Stepping Hill Hospital

STOCKPORT/GREATER MANCHESTER: Leaders to sign off ‘important’ £500k Bee Network scheme making it easier to walk or cycle to Stepping Hill Hospital

Walking And Cycling Pic From Stockport Council

A £500,000 Bee Network scheme that will make it easier to walk or cycle to Stepping Hill Hospital is set to be approved later this week.

Dubbed Stockport Hazel Grove Phase 1, ‘new and enhanced facilities’ for pedestrians and cyclists in the south Stockport area are expected to be signed off by local leaders.

The project would see the creation of around 0.5km of north-south cycle routes including connections to Hazel Grove train station, Norbury Parish Church and Torkington Park, a report to the combined authority says.

There would also be a new signalised crossing of the A6 at Torkington Park, where improved lighting and step free access points are to be installed.

A meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will be asked on Friday to  release up to £532,000 of Mayor’s Challenged Fund cash for the initiative.

Councillor David Meller, Stockport council’s economy and regeneration chief, said it was another vital step in creating the UK’s largest cycling and walking network.

He said: “It’s another significant example of the effort we are putting into creating a walking and cycling network that people can benefit from and to reduce those short car journeys and encourage people, where they can, to walk and cycle those short journeys.

“With the Clean Air Zone edging ever closer now, it’s more important than ever that we hit the ground running and get this work done to meet the clean air targets we have in Stockport and in Greater Manchester as a whole. I’m really hoping it’s agreed to.”

There had been some opposition to the scheme – particularly around the loss of grass verges, trees and possible parking issues.

But Coun Meller says ‘extensive engagement’ with locals and ward councillors has led to a plan that residents are now happier with.

“It’s something that has really pushed the officers in terms of engineering, they had to go to minute street level to do this,” he said.

And Coun Meller, also a member of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, hailed Stockport’s role in pushing the walking and cycling agenda forward.

He continued: “In terms of the amount of money we have brought into Stockport through walking and cycling schemes, it’s the best part of £30m now.

“This ask is significant, and shows we are one of the leading boroughs in Greater Manchester in supporting the ambition of the Bee Network.”

If Hazel Grove Phase 1 is  approved it will be the 32nd scheme to be bankrolled by the Mayor’s Challenge Fund – which has to date committed £63.5m to improving walking and cycling infrastructure.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority meets at Oldham Civic Centre from 11am on Friday (November 26).

Words: Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter


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