The Carrington Relief Road is “not the only show in town”
Oh, yes it is!
At Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee on 12th January 2022, members were given a presentation about the Carrington Relief Road, providing some background to the initiative along with some information about the Option Appraisal for the preferred route, the engagement with the public and the next steps.
A member of the Scrutiny Committee requested a more balanced representation of the facts. The Carrington Relief Road documentation does seem to be plagued by the sheer volume of misinformation (see our letter to Trafford’s Chief Executive in February 2020 about the Outline Business Case document).
This is the third in our series of blogs which addresses the gaps in the information given at the meeting, providing further details to help members of the Scrutiny Committee and others, when reviewing the proceedings.
This blog focuses on the GM Transport Strategy, its aims and objectives and the specific commitments made in relation to the New Carrington allocation.
The presentation given to Scrutiny Committee stressed that the proposal for the Carrington Relief Road (CRR) is “not the only show in town”. Trafford’s Officer stated that “there are lots of other interventions that are just as important and are also being pursued”, let’s look at what they are!
Just to remind you, New Carrington is the largest housing allocation in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), now known as Places for Everyone (P4E). It is more than double the size of the next largest allocation and more than 5 times the average of all the allocations in P4E. In addition, it is almost the largest employment allocation in P4E, and is over twice the size of the average employment allocation across GM.
So, at 5,000 houses, 350,000 m2 (industrial and warehousing) employment space, its huge then!
Yet, there are NO commitments to any sustainable passenger or freight transport options for that New Carrington proposal!
And, that is despite the number of years both the Transport Strategy and the GMSF have been under development (both commencing some considerable time before the initial public consultations in 2016).
Trafford’s Officer confirmed that when the Authority are planning transport improvements, they do so in the context of the wider Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040, and he stated that the CRR is ONE of the projects within the Delivery Plan for that Strategy.
In reality, the CRR is the ONLY commitment within the Delivery Plan for the huge overdevelopment planned for the New Carrington Allocation area. With the GM Transport Delivery Plan confirming that
Here’s what the IS in that
GM Transport Delivery Plan
In February 2020 Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) commissioned AECOM to undertake a review of public transport opportunities for the Carrington development site. This study did not involve any community inputs and, once again, existing residents were not intended to be the primary beneficiaries (the document sets out that the “key objective of the study is to identify solutions which primarily serve the development site”).
As one Carrington resident put it “Did they forget the existing residents?”
It seems that, despite Councillor Wright’s assertion that “you’ve got to bring the communities that already live there on board with all those new homes and all of that change” there has been no effort to do so, either in terms of consultation or consideration of needs. A future blog will review the consultation elements of the planned new road in detail.
In addition, there are over 1,000 horses stabled in the New Carrington area. This community, and their supply chain, bring economic benefits to Trafford, yet there is no mention of their requirements, nor the consequence of fracturing their existing riding routes with this planned road. Riding in the vicinity of a large number of motor vehicles is, again, unhealthy, unsafe and unpleasant.
The Vision set out in that
GM Transport Strategy 2040 is admirable!
But can the economic growth planned for New Carrington be described as sustainable? We don’t think so, take a look at our previous blog to find out more.
The quality of life for existing residents in this area will NOT be improved by the New Carrington Masterplan, in fact, the opposite will occur, especially given the huge increase in air, noise and light pollution residents face.
Carrington Moss is Trafford’s largest Natural Capital asset, yet protecting the environment was glossed over in one sentence at the Scrutiny Committee, with Trafford’s Officer suggesting that there is an opportunity to address environmental concerns through careful design. We think that is naïve to the extreme, especially given Natural England’s comments about the planned route, and those environmental issues will also be discussed in a future blog in this series.
The GMSF and the GM Transport Strategy have matured over the same period, with the documents suggesting that “significant work” has been undertaken to develop GM’s spatial planning in alignment with the Transport Strategy and the associated Delivery Plan. The documents emphasise that that “Preventing increased congestion will need more people to travel by public transport or to walk or cycle, and fewer goods vehicles on our roads during peak periods. This will require a significant improvement in the alternatives, providing more capacity and creating a flexible, integrated transport network that meets customer needs”. Yet, for the New Carrington development, NO effort has been made over those past several years, to develop any sustainable passenger or freight transport options. So, what “significant work” has been carried out in relation to this development?
Producing a plan that has no sustainable passenger or freight transport options cannot be described as innovative. As members of the Scrutiny Committee identified, there have been a significant number of missed opportunities to create a much bolder plan, which takes advantage of local rail and water-based assets! The Parish Councils and local Community Groups have identified a number of alternative sustainable transport options but there is no forum for us to discuss them with Trafford and there has been no appetite from Trafford Officers to explore alternatives to the Carrington Relief Road.
The P4E Vision is similarly commendable, with ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2038, “where the past dependency on the car is superseded by a reliable and responsive public transport system”.
Again, a laudable objective, but there is no plan to implement this in New Carrington, where, despite Trafford’s assertion, the road IS the only show in town for passenger and freight traffic and, as can be seen from the table above, alternatives are not even being investigated!
What are our asks?
We set out our key asks in our previous blog. Without the information we request, we do not believe the Scrutiny Committee can undertake an adequate review of the current proposal.
For more information about our previous analysis relating to the Carrington Relief Road, please check out the Carrington Link Road page on our website.