Residents in Cheadle Heath and Cheadle, Stockport are being asked how they’d like to improve the streets where they live as part of plans to create a series of new low-traffic neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.
Low-traffic neighbourhoods, known locally as Active Neighbourhoods, focus on prioritising the movement, health and safety of people over cars by using planters or bollards to stop rat-running on residential streets. These innovative schemes typically create quieter streets for residents to chat and for children to play, as well as making trips to schools and the shops safer.
In Stockport, areas of Cheadle and Cheadle Heath have been chosen to receive improvements, with the plans aligning with other local cycling and walking schemes.
Residents are being asked to feedback what they like about their area, but also how it could be made better – and whether they would like to stop through traffic using their streets as a short-cut.
The latest scheme forms part of the Bee Network, a 10-year plan for Greater Manchester to deliver the UK’s largest cycling and walking network, eventually spanning 1,800 miles. The focus is on enabling people to leave the car at home for everyday trips to school or to the shops. This will contribute to the one million additional daily sustainable journeys Greater Manchester wants to achieve by 2040, while also having wider benefits to health, congestion and clean air.
Chris Boardman, Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Over the last decade traffic levels on main roads has barely risen, but journeys on residential streets have risen by a staggering 45% in Greater Manchester.
“That’s five billion more miles being driven every year past people’s front doors, mostly by people using what should be quiet neighbourhood streets as shortcuts and that’s not right.
“Neighbourhoods should be first and foremost for the people who live there, they should feel safe and able to ride, scoot or simply walk to shops and schools in comfort if they choose to, we need to get those rights back.
“By stopping through traffic but keeping full access to homes for people who need to go there, Active Neighbourhoods prioritise those that call it home. I’d like to encourage local residents in Stockport who want safe space outside their homes for them and their families, to get involved and tell us how they want their streets to look and feel.”
Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council, said:
“I am really excited by the potential of an Active Neighbourhood in Cheadle and Cheadle Heath. Active Neighbourhoods can not only make it easier to move around by foot or bike, but they can address issues residents feel passionate about: from rat-running to speeding down residential streets.
“We’ve recently completed very successful engagement exercises on Active Neighbourhoods in the Heatons and Romiley and our officers are currently analysing the comments left by residents.
“This engagement exercise will allow us to focus on issues Cheadle and Cheadle Heath residents raise. It’s also important the idea of an Active Neighbourhood has wide approval from residents, which we’ll find out through this exercise.
“I really hope the Active Neighbourhood proposal will achieve wide support as the benefits go beyond those who just walk and cycle. By making our roads safer and less congested, the benefits can be felt by many across Cheadle and Cheadle Heath.”
There are currently low traffic neighbourhoods in every district of Greater Manchester, many of which were created during the 1990s.
This latest Active Neighbourhood is part of a GM-wide programme of 10 schemes (one per district) to be delivered by Arup and Sustrans in 2021, in partnership with councils and TfGM.
Councils have submitted Active Neighbourhoods proposals as part of the wider cycling and walking programme. There are an additional two neighbourhoods each for Bolton and Stockport, totaling over 20 currently under development across Greater Manchester.
For more information and to have your say on the Cheadle Heath scheme, visit sustrans.org.uk/CheadleSurvey.