Mottram bypass ruled out

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Campaigners pushing for a new bypass to be built at Mottram in Longdendale are refusing to give up despite the Department for Transport’s announcement that it will not be funding the £100 million scheme.

The proposed road was one of several transport schemes scrapped in the North West recently, along with an inner relief road in Wigan and a link between the A6 at Stockport and the M56 at Manchester Airport.

However, members of the pro-bypass Longdendale Siege Committee have staged a number of traffic-stopping protests and are now vowing to take their case to parliament.

They will be meeting High Peak MP Andrew Bingham and Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds at Hyde Town Hall early in the new year to discuss taking a delegation to the capital.

Protests staged

Committee member David Moore explained: “We want to find out the criteria for gaining bypass approval as we have seen roads opened in other areas where traffic is much lighter than ours.

“We live on the most congested road in Greater Manchester and one of the busiest routes in the UK, with 36,000 vehicles a day, one in five of which are heavy goods vehicles, passing very close to people’s houses.

“We have staged protests on the A57 and A628, in the villages of Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle, by continually pressing the buttons at the pedestrian crossings to stop the traffic during morning rush hour. We got a lot of support from motorists and lorry drivers honking their horns and waving at us.

“Our next step is the new year meeting with the MPs to talk about taking our case to the transport minister in the near future.”

Several setbacks

Committee members also attended the opening of a new £52 million bypass in the Cheshire village of Alderley Edge on 19 November to promote their cause.

Moore said: “The people there have staged a very long-running battle to get a new road so it was a great occasion for them to finally see it opened by the Chancellor, George Osborne. However, we went along with our placards to highlight the need for our own bypass and to let people know that we are still fighting.

“Alderley Edge has 26,000 vehicles passing through every day, whereas we have 36,000, so we are determined to press on and move the traffic away from our villages.”

The news that the government will not be funding the Mottram Tintwistle bypass is just one of several setbacks for supporters in the scheme’s long chequered history.

Plans for the original bypass were scrapped last year and a scaled down version had been drawn up but, unless funding can be found, it is uncertain whether it will ever be built.

Traffic calming

And although its supporters battle on, the scheme is not without its opponents, including the local Save Swallow’s Wood group, which is campaigning for alternatives such as weight restrictions and traffic calming measures, along with better public transport, to reduce traffic congestion on the route.

Emma Lawrence of Save Swallow’s Wood said: “We are really hoping that something positive will come out of it now and that all the time and energy that has been wasted on the bypass will be redirected into developing partnerships with the bus companies, neighbouring councils and other service providers that are needed to deliver an integrated and sustainable transport solution.”

In Yorkshire, transport schemes under threat of not being funded as the government pushes through cuts include the Sheffield Supertram, park and ride in York, the Bedale-Aiskew-Leeming Bar bypass in North Yorkshire and a new station at Kirkstall Forge, Leeds.

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