Members of the public are invited to put questions to the Chair of the Area Committee on any matters within the powers and duties of the Area Committee, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice (Questions must be submitted prior to the commencement of the meeting on the cards provided. These are available the meeting. You can also submit via the Council’s website at www.stockport.gov.uk/publicquestions.
Members of the public were invited to put questions to the Chair of the Area Committee on any matters within the powers and duties of the Area Committee, subject to the exclusions set out in the Code of Practice.
Three public questions were submitted as follows with regard to the recent consultation on the Mayoral Challenge Fund (MCF):-
· Whether it would possible to utilise the crossing outside the Britannia Hotel or carrying on the cycle/walkway path up Lowndes Lane to link up with Aquinas College on Nangreave Road which would link in with residents’ plans for a cycle/walkway path which would then lead onto Hillcrest Road.
· When the report, incorporating residents’ objections, would be submitted to the Area Committee and how residents’ proposed changes could be put forward.
· The consultation process for the walk and ride proposals.
An additional public question was submitted with regard to the information exercise on the Town Centre Access Plan (TCAP) scheme 609 :-
· The viability of the existing 308 bus stop and the proposed new location of the bus stop.
A representative of the Corporate Director for Place Management and Regeneration responded to the public questions as follows:-
Mayoral Challenge Fund (MCF)
With regard to petitions, comments and public questions received relating to the MCF project, the Council intended to present the results of the October – November 2019 consultation and associated Officer recommendations to the meeting of the area committee in January. This would include a full report on the results of the consultation including the number of responses to the questions asked and summaries of comments made. Petitions received would also be reported on. There would be analysis including Officer responses on comments received and recommendations as to whether schemes should be taken forward as consulted on, amended to address comments received or not proceeded with. The reports would go to all area committees for recommendations before being submitted to the Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration for approval.
Town Centre Access Plan (TCAP)
Works were underway as part of TCAP to introduce new Toucan (pedestrian and cyclist) crossings on Hempshaw Lane and Banks Lane with connecting pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Two stages of public consultation were undertaken in developing the TCAP proposals. This scheme initially only included Hempshaw Lane but was developed at the request of local Councillors to also include a crossing on Banks Lane. The requirement for a crossing was subsequently investigated and confirmed by Council Officers, in particular consideration of the substantial pedestrian flow between the Council car park and school during drop-off and collection times. This flow was likely to increase in future with the completion of the housing estate on the former Battersby Mill site. Development of the scheme has been undertaken by the TCAP team. Whilst the Council usually consulted with frontage holders adjacent to proposed crossings, in this instance there were none and land on both frontages was Council owned so no further public consultation was undertaken.
The location of the new crossing on the pedestrian desire line is such that the bus stops need to be relocated. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) had stated that the removal of stops would not be in line with their policy and that they wished to retain this stop despite relatively low levels of usage. They have also confirmed that Banks Lane was not currently or proposed to be ‘hail and ride’, buses should only stop at designated stops. The use of fixed stops enables the provision of better service quality and accessibility, and mitigates against buses stopping at unsafe and/or unsuitable locations.
The relocation of the bus stops has been discussed between Council Officers, TfGM and Greater Manchester Police to identify the most appropriate locations. The northbound stop remains close to its current location but the southbound stop needs to be moved approximately 35m north to keep it clear of the new crossing. It has been agreed that due to the double yellow lines the bus stop clearway marking shown on the consultation plans could be omitted from the scheme for the southbound bus stop.
A Road Safety Audit was also commissioned which does raise some concerns about the proximity of the car park entrance to the stop. The risks identified in the Road Safety Audit have been carefully assessed. They include the possibility of a vehicle exiting the car park when a bus is at the stop so masking approaching vehicles, and also of a vehicle not realising the car park is there due to a bus obscuring a view of the entrance. They consider that the risks are increased by the lack of give way markings at the car park entrance and the lack of advance signage for the car park.
The stop is only used by up to eleven services a day and not at all on Sunday. It is not a timing point so stops will be brief. Times of the buses show no services run during the times of greatest use of the car park at the beginning and end of the school day. To further mitigate the risk, give way markings will be provided at the exit from the car park to highlight the need to give way. It should be noted that many bus stops are located close to junctions and access points and whilst this is not an ideal layout they can operate safely. Accident statistics for six such stops on the A6, A560 Cheadle and B6167 Reddish corridors were examined and found no evidence that the stop location contributed to accident risk. The scheme, including the bus stops, would be subject to a further Stage 3 Road Safety Audit on substantial completion of the works. On the basis of the above it is considered that, providing give way markings and advance signage are provided, locating the bus stops as shown is not likely to create risk to road users. The next stage of the process is that TfGM will formally engage with frontage holders and near neighbours regarding the relocation of their stops.
RESOLVED – That the responses to the public questions be noted.