What was promised for Carrington, Partington and Sale West in previous Trafford Local Plans and Strategies?
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 misinformation (see our letter to Trafford’s Chief Executive in February 2020 about the Outline Business Case document).
This is the first in 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 what was said in Trafford’s previous documents about the Carrington Relief Road and the area the proposed preferred option will destroy.
At Scrutiny Committee, members were told that delivering transport improvements in this area has been Council policy for 10 years. It has, in fact, been Council policy since at least the publication of the Unitary Development Plan in 2006. The Council recognised almost 20 years ago that public transport improvements are core to the regeneration of Carrington, Partington and Sale West.
Yet, these promised improvements have NOT been provided.
Sadly, in this part of the Borough, Policy L4.5 has not been delivered at all. Worse still, since the publication of the Core Strategy in 2012, services have reduced even further and have continued to decline over recent years.
Getting the huge volume of HGVs off our roads is a priority for local residents and will be discussed further in another blog in this series. Trafford’s previous documents mentioned opportunities to relieve the traffic in the area by building a bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal between Carrington and Irlam. This would enable local companies to move their goods via Irlam Wharf and the Manchester Ship Canal or via Port Salford, which will also be a rail freight terminal. Very sustainable options.
Yet, where are Trafford’s proposals for the bridge? What work have they done to move this option forward since 2006?
The 2012 Core Strategy said “a Manchester Ship Canal crossing will be subject to further investigation”.
We made an FOI request and only received information back about the community proposal for this option!
Another member of the Scrutiny Committee suggested Trafford’s plans were not bold enough. Whilst recognising there would need to be significant investment, he particularly highlighted reopening the former railway line as a potential sustainable solution.
The lack of consideration for reintroducing rail for passengers and freight in this area has not always been a problem for Trafford.
It seems it is only the current proposition that has removed all the sustainable options from the development plan (other than providing walking and cycling routes next to major roads).
We’ll say more about the traffic numbers in a future blog, in the meantime –
what did that Core Strategy document say about the Carrington Relief Road.
Well, the document does say (SL5.2) that the new road infrastructure would “serve the development area to relieve congestion on the A6144”.
The document also says (para 8.73) that the development area will be “accessible by a choice of transport modes”. There was choice in 2006 and 2012. Not just a less intrusive road, but also consideration of the bridge and rail and a plan for public transport improvements. It was expected that these options would “significantly improve transportation links to the Strategic Road Network, Metrolink and cross conurbation to Salford” and there is a recognition that such measures would be needed to mitigate the impact of the development on both local roads and the motorways.
There is nothing to suggest the proposed road was expected decimate grade 2 agricultural land, woodland, wetland and peat moss.
In fact, Trafford’s previous documents were insightful. It does seem that there was a recognition of the importance of Carrington Moss, from ecological, biodiversity and heritage aspects.
Carrington Moss is a huge asset to Trafford and should continue to be protected as such.
The ecosystem services it provides are extensive and, in some cases, irreplaceable. More about these in a future blog.
Going back to the meeting, Scrutiny Committee members were told the preferred route would go across the fields.
It needs to be recognised that these “fields” are Grade 2, best and most versatile, agricultural land
(as identified in GM’s land classifications – see Mapping GM, include a layer search for Agricultural Land Classification).
The Council has previously committed to protecting such land, recognising its value to the local economy.
Of course, since Trafford’s declaration of a climate emergency in November 2018, the protection of this land should have been enhanced as it offers the potential for the future provision of local sustainable food sources.
Furthermore, the 2012 Core Strategy refers to Government Guidance.
Let’s look at the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) guidance in relation to conserving and enhancing the local environment!
So, in summary, it seems the proposed transport improvements for Carrington, Partington and Sale West have not been taken forward since 2006, yet Trafford’s Planning Committee has repeatedly approved developments that have, and will continue to, significantly increase the traffic on local roads, to the detriment of the health and wellbeing of existing residents.
Whilst Trafford’s Officer said that “the road is not the only show in town”, there are no other proposals on the table. No trains, no trams, no water-based freight or passenger transport and no additional bus services. We have checked this via an FOI request, for which the response was
“There are currently no committed schemes to improve public transport in this area.”
What are our asks?
As we have requested previously, we’d like to see the scheme paused until all stakeholders have been appropriately consulted and their views are able to be properly included in the options appraisal
We’d like to see our carbon footprint and the climate emergency taking a more meaningful part of the option appraisal
We’d like to see the options reviewed to allow for less expensive, less environmentally intrusive alternatives to be considered (with entirely separate active travel routes).
|Trafford’s declaration of the climate emergency in November 2018 agreed to “consider, systematically, the climate change impact of each area of the Council’s activities”.||We’d like to see the assessment that has been undertaken in relation to this road and the premise under which it is not only continuing but is now considered to need to be a dual carriageway!|
|Trafford appears to be wedded to an outdated plan to implement a carbon-hungry new road, to the exclusion of all potential opportunities to reduce the number vehicles on our roads.||We would like to see these alternatives fully evaluated alongside the proposals for the road. We recognise that Trafford’s lack of consideration for these options has resulted in a timing issue, but we believe there are ways to alleviate the existing traffic problems, without destroying our green belt.|
|There are huge gaps in the information needed to determine the most appropriate approach to resolving the traffic issues in the area.||We would like to see a more comprehensive evaluation which includes an assessment of the natural capital assets in the area, the detailed traffic numbers and a review of the carbon implications.|
Without the information mentioned above, 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 our website.