Residents and local experts deliver added value in Master Plan workshops

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the Friends of Carrington Moss recently arranged two workshops to provide input to the local Master Plan. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to provide some feedback on the outputs from these workshops.  We’ll give you some information about next steps and we’d love to have your thoughts about some of the key issues, because, of course, the

OUTCOMES

(ie what happens in response to the workshops) are, most importantly, why we spent so much time planning, preparing and hosting these sessions.

The Coronavirus has impacted timescales, so please bear with us and our partners over the coming months as some of the planned activities will not be completed within the same timescales now.

The first deliverable from each workshop was a set of key design principles which were discussed and agreed within the participant groups.  We also received further feedback after the workshops.  The graphic below represents the final output, which has been updated for all comments and responses received.

The core principle for each of the two topics is shown at the centre of the graphics.  We believe these core principles are the overarching imperatives in the Master Planning process for these two themes.  Some suggestions were also made about additional principles, which need further discussion.

The workshops also discussed the key assets we have on the Moss.  This activity was structured in a slightly different way in the two workshops.

In the Ecology and Biodiversity Workshop:

We looked at the quantitative values of the ecology and biodiversity on the Moss and how they can be measured.  Quantitative values can typically be measured numerically in some way, such as by size of the area, the number of creatures supported by that feature, or by using a pre-determined metric established by experts.

To facilitate this discussion, Trafford Wildlife shared their assessment of the wide variety of existing habitats on Carrington Moss and a representative from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) presented information about the sites of biological importance and the presence of endangered species on Carrington Moss.

The break-out groups then considered the qualitative values, discussing their views about the most important ecological assets on Carrington Moss.  Qualitative values are things that would not necessarily be counted numerically, they can be perceptions and feelings, not just tangible measurements and typically relate to the quality of a feature.

The results of this activity are shown in the graphic below:

As you can see, there was a lot of consistency in the discussions that took place in each break-out group, so it is important that these values are considered in the design and development of the updated Master Plan.

In the Interconnected Traffic-Free Routes across Carrington Moss

We categorised the various routes across Carrington Moss that are used today and also identified potential future traffic-free routes that will be important to consider in the Master Planning process.

Again, there was a lot of consistency between the groups, including in their assessment of potential future routes.  Connectivity with the wider network of walking and cycling routes is considered to be very important.  There was a lot of discussion about the dismantled railway line and it is important to take the number of horse riders using the Moss on a day to day basis into account.  Our friends in the horse riding community tell us that there are over 1,000 horses stabled in the area, no wonder we see someone on horseback almost every time we go onto the Moss.

Finally, the third activity was to identify the key next steps to help progress the Master Plan and ensure community engagement continues as a key part of the discussions.  These have been consolidated because there was so much overlap between the break-out groups and lots of actions were suggested.

Let’s look first at the Quick Wins, these are things we can do in the short term (in the next three to six months), without too much difficulty.  We are already working with our partners to deliver these:

ActionCommentary
Plant wildflower meadows (next to the footpaths, ditches, solar farm, hedgerows)We have already discussed this with HIMOR and hope to sow seed over the coming months
Plant bulbs/understorey in the woodlandsAgain, we are actively planning this with HIMOR
Create a programme of work for schools (including, if possible, on-line resources), arrange school/resident visits onto the MossTwo school visits already arranged, with more to follow, we are also planning some community walks over the coming months
Introduce more way markers and signage to help those using the MossAgain, HIMOR are actively supporting this initiative
Do litter picks on and near the footpathsWe held our first litter pick in February and will be doing more over the coming months
Involve representatives from all communities in discussions about the Master Plan for the area, invite those representatives to the existing forums which are part of the Master Plan processWhilst we feel this must be a quick win, community engagement on Master Planning is not yet in place, but we hope to bring more information on this over the coming weeks.

The workshops also identified things that would take a bit more discussion but we believe can be achieved in the medium term (in the next six to nine months) and also some more challenging actions which may start over the coming weeks but will take much longer to complete (possibly up to a year or longer):

We’d also like to have your inputs into the next steps and with that in mind, we have created a very short survey, which should take less than 5 minutes to complete.  We are keen to secure inputs from as many in the community as possible, so please encourage your family, friends and neighbours to respond too. Click on the button below to access the survey.

We are now planning our next workshops, the first of which will consider the plans for the Strategic Road Network to be constructed across the Moss, these currently include the Carrington Relief Road, the Sale West Link Road, the Birch Road Link and the Southern Link Road.  We will be seeking to identify quick wins, route options and alternatives to the reduce the need for so much new tarmac!  A further workshop will look Risks and Issues (for example, Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, other impacts of high volume HGV traffic and potential COMAH site topics). More information will follow on these workshops over the coming weeks.  They may, of course, need to be on-line sessions, due to the Coronavirus.

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