Consultation about the CRR – has it been fully Scrutinised?

The Carrington Relief Road, which IS going to impact irreplaceable habitats and the lives of residents in Carrington, Partington and Sale West, is being pushed ahead at speed.

Don’t be fooled by the spin as Trafford promote their plans for this road.  It is not going to bring benefits to any resident any time soon.  In fact, quite the opposite – read on. 

We would encourage you all to watch the recording of Trafford’s Scrutiny Committee on 21st September (the CRR item starts at 30:04 and only lasts for around 20 minutes).  You will find the papers here (go to page 47 of the pack).

It is interesting that paragraph 4.2 of the report states that, due to its regional significance, community and stakeholders should be as fully involved in the scheme as possible.

If that is the case, why didn’t residents have the opportunity to give our views on which of the options from the Core Strategy 2012 would bring the most benefits?

Given that Trafford totally missed out that first step in the process – why wasn’t there a consultation that gave residents the opportunity to provide their views on the preferred route option? 

At the Scrutiny Committee meeting Councillor Williams confirmed that the response rate for that previous exercise was poor and that the recent meeting between Ward Councillors and the project team was focused on how participation can be increased. 

Councillor Williams expressed his concern that there are a lot of responses from outside the Bucklow St Martins Ward. 

As there has been NO consultation to date, we assume his comments relate to that March 2021 initiative and can confirm that our inputs certainly did include feedback from Bucklow St Martins residents. 

In addition, whilst FOCM membership covers all the above Parishes and Sale West (and includes many residents who live in the Bucklow St Martins Ward), when we met with the project team we invited those Parish Councils to join us, along with Positive Partington and Peak and Northern Footpaths Society.  This has always been our approach and, when we responded to the previous exercise, it was collaborative feedback from all those groups. 

So, has Councillor Williams been misinformed?

In addition, it must be emphasised that Sale West residents will be significantly and negatively impacted by this road.  Bucklow St Martins extends into the Sale West area, so when, as mentioned at the meeting, Councillor Williams goes “door to door” it would be useful for those who live in Sale West to also have a voice.

Let’s look at the reality of previous consultations related to this area!

Trafford does not have an impressive record of engaging with our communities and when residents do provide their views about the CRR or New Carrington, they are studiously ignored (see our previous blog for more information).  This 2 minute video shows how differently local residents are treated when compared to others in Trafford.

The Scrutiny Committee heard, following a question from Councillor Butt, that the overall parameters of the scheme have already been decided, so any future consultation must be clear about what views are actually being sought.

Whilst it is heartening that the Council wish to undertake some specific consultation about the selected route (Councillor Williams suggested this would include giving our views about the vegetation at the side of the road), it seems resident influence will be limited to a few design features.

Scrutiny Committee members raised a number of concerns about the contents of the report.  Councillor Axford, for example, asked how, given residents needed to understand the environmental impact (paragraph 7.2), Trafford would balance those messages (relating to increased pollution and carbon emissions) with the promotion of the road.

Councillor Coggins highlighted that only the positive aspects of the implications (page 2 of the report, page 48 of the pack) have been revealed (just like a sales brochure).  So, no mention of the increased carbon emissions caused by the road, and also no mention of how vulnerable groups will be targeted in the consultation, no mention of how the road will support sustainable development (or not), no mention of the risks to local residents of increased surface water flooding and no mention of the increased air, noise and light pollution that will impact the health and wellbeing of local residents and threatened bird/wildlife species!

Paragraph 1.4 states that the road will bring significant benefits to Carrington and Partington communities.  We disagree!  Trafford’s own documents state that only 60% of the traffic (including HGVs) will use the new road.  Traffic volumes will increase significantly due to Trafford’s plans to approve developments for 5,000 homes and 350,000 m2 warehouses in the area.  This will leave Carrington surrounded by roads (an island in a sea of air, noise and light pollution and, of course, the issues caused by excessive vibrations from HGVs).  We do not perceive any benefits for Partington from this road, especially as a large number of new homes have already been approved, which will result in more traffic on existing routes, a situation that could be exacerbated further by the decision on the increased toll charges for Warburton Bridge, which comes before the Planning Inspector in November.

There is, as always, no mention in the report of the negative impact on Sale West residents of increased air, noise and light pollution and increased risk of significant levels of surface water flooding. 

Given their declaration of a climate emergency, Trafford should be aiming to reduce vehicles on existing roads. There is no justification for building more roads, which will encourage even more traffic.

The Council is keen to emphasise that Partington residents want to see the new road being implemented (paragraph 11.3) but we would encourage all residents in all communities to do their research – there is already a lot of evidence that new roads create new traffic, for example.  The more sustainable solutions we mention above would bring more benefits to residents.  Contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.

Councillor Thompson highlighted that key stakeholder events (including any with Friends of Carrington Moss) were missing from the future timetable (Appendix 2 -Outline Programme for Future Engagement and Consultation Events) and was advised that this is an oversight due to the meetings not yet being scheduled.

Clearly, there is more information to come

And, finally,

whilst the MEN reported on the meeting, there has been no request to FOCM for comment.

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