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STOCKPORT: Parts of ‘Active Neighbourhood’ hit by ambulance delays to be kept in place after a controversial three-month trial ends this week

STOCKPORT: Parts of ‘Active Neighbourhood’ hit by ambulance delays to be kept in place after a controversial three-month trial ends this week

Carnforth Road, Heaton Chapel, Stockport. Credit: Google Street View

Parts of a low traffic neighbourhood hit by ambulance delays are to be kept in place after a controversial three-month trial ends this week.

Heaton Chapel’s Active ‘Neighbourhood  scheme’ launched in September and was aimed at reducing ‘rat running’ while  increasing road safety and air quality.

It was also hoped people would take fewer short car journeys and take more trips by bike or on foot.

Temporary measures to introduced by Stockport council included 20mph zones, a one-way system and a new mini-roundabout.

But huge controversy has surrounded the use of ‘modal filters’ – essentially giant planters blocking off one end of a road to stop drivers using streets as cut-throughs.

Last week, despite previous denials, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) admitted ambulances ‘had been caught up in the new road layouts and their response has been delayed because of them’.

The admission – from NWAS chief executive Daren Mochrie – was an embarrassment for the local authority, which had reiterated the services’ previous denials, branding the claims ‘misinformation’.

While the trial comes to an end this week, elements are set to remain in place pending further consultation – including a one-way system on Ash Grove, 20mph zones and the mini roundabout and speed cushions at the junction of Carnforth Road and Marbury Road.

The move – to be signed of by economy chief Councillor David Meller – was backed by local councillors at a meeting of Heatons and Reddish area committee on Monday night (November 29).

But, despite the recent controversy,  Councillor David Sedgwick would like to see the authority go further.

“I too support the proposals, for the same reason [as fellow councillors], there has been no negative feedback on those elements, I am happy to do it,” he told the meeting.

“Indeed I would like to keep other elements of it,  particularly the filter at Broadstone Hall Road North and at Carnforth [Road] which I think generally speaking has been overwhelmingly supported.

“Residents were saying they want to keep it and they want to have something in place, but we will need to look at that again.”

Councillor John Taylor took a similar view to Coun Sedgwick on leaving further elements of the Active Neighbourhood in place.

The council had previously said it would remove all  measures at the end of the trial – unless specifically asked not to –  but Coun Taylor welcomed the slight change of tack.

He said: “To take things out now and then do a consultation and then bring them back would likely appear to the public as a bit of a waste of public money – and also have a tinge of ‘well, they don’t know what they’re doing after all’ type sentiment.

“So when Coun Sedgwick basically wants to hang on to more stuff than is in this report, there are benefits from doing so – because in the final analysis – the main streets we are concerned about we have already got pretty confident now that what’s being done is  popular.

“And therefore to throw that baby out with the bathwater simply because it relates to an earlier promise would be a mistake, because the willingness to remove things, should they prove unpopular, is still in the hands of the people we will be consulting.”

The full list of measures proposed to remain in place on a temporary basis are as follows:

  • One-way system on Ash Grove.
  • 20mph signage.
  • The mini roundabout and speed cushions at the junction of Carnforth Road and Marbury Road.
  • The extension of the existing double yellow line restriction on Halesden Road at its junction with Manchester Road.
  • A further consultation on the trial will take place early next year.

Following this a permanent scheme and proposals will be developed and consulted on, also during 2022.

This may include making permanent the retained temporary measures set out above.

Heatons and Reddish area committee met at Fred Perry House on Monday night (November 29).

Words: Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter


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