SOUTH EAST MANCHESTER MULTI-MODAL STUDY (SEMMMS) CONSULTATION PROCESSES AND SCHEME DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS COMMITTEE : Macclesfield Local Joint Highways Committee REPORT OF : Alan Stilwell, County Engineer Contact Officer : John Gray, Chief Engineer, Chester (01244) 603572 INTRODUCTION 1. Members have previously been informed of details of the consultation processes for the major highway schemes associated with the SEMMMS study along with some other issues linked to the scheme development. Phases 1 and 2 of the consultation have now been completed and necessary development work has continued on the schemes themselves. This report will summarise the outcome of the consultation work and up-date members on issues linked to scheme development. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT AND CONSULTATION 2. The SEMMMS study itself was considered to have addressed public consultation in a very positive way, primarily through newsletters circulated widely through the study area. This approach was continued, by the local authorities involved, in autumn 2003 with a newspaper covering all aspects of the work progressing the SEMMMS recommendations. The benefit of this public involvement has been acknowledged by the Department for Transport (DfT). It is intended to proceed with a similar newspaper later this year that will highlight not only the progressing work on the highway scheme, but also the SEMMMS ‘short-term’ measures that will include work completed on Macclesfield Bus Interchange, area- wide traffic calming in Pownall Park, Wilmslow and major maintenance and bus route improvements in Bollington. 3. Consultation on the major highway scheme proposals, Poynton Bypass, the Manchester Airport Link Road and Stockport North-South Bypass, was progressed in two phases. Phase 1 centered on the principles of the major schemes, their routes and junction locations and ran from 10th October to 7th November 2003. Some 200,000 leaflets were distributed to residents and businesses, along with details being made available at public locations and a web-site. Over 11,500 replies were received. Over 91% of those responding agreed that the scheme was needed, 87% agreed with the principle of the schemes as recommended from the SEMMMS study (reducing the scale of the roads and at-grade junctions) and nearly 88% considered the proposed route was in the right corridor. Only 6% disagreed with the idea that the scheme was needed (objecting to road construction and seeking public additional public transport improvements). 4. Phase 2 of the consultation (21st November 2003 to 9th January 2004) was targeted at residents and businesses closer to the schemes, along with those people seeking continued involvement from Phase 1. In addition to leaflets to the above, and publicity within the community, public exhibitions were held at nine locations throughout the scheme area which were attended by some 1500 people. The consultation focussed on detailed options for junction arrangements and route options at the southern end of the Poynton Bypass and the Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road (West). Given the geographical extent of the consultation respondents generally expressed views on options that affected them directly (some 9,500 people responded). For MAELR (W), the majority response favoured the more southerly of the two options (30% :13%) - following the currently protected alignment. In respect of the Poynton options most favoured the longer option linking to Adlington cross-roads (37% to 21%). A full assessment of the views expressed throughout the consultation process and the implications of the scheme options (route choices and junction options) will be reported at a later date through the process considering route protection. The full reports on both phases of consultation are available through the schemes’ website. The above consultation has targeted specific responses, however, throughout the continued development of the schemes public input and specific consultation with interest groups will inform the design process. SCHEME DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS 5. In approving the SEMMMS recommendations the Minister for Transport asked the three Local Highways Authorities (Cheshire CC, Stockport MBC and Manchester CC) to continue the detailed development of the road schemes. The next formal stage of that development is to seek DfT’s provisional approval of scheme proposals through the submission of an Annex E bid as a part of the Local Transport Plan (LTP) Annual Progress Report (APR) this July. The Annex E will, necessarily, have to be made in conjunction with the other two Highway Authorities as a part of the APR approval process. 6. The Annex E will provide the DfT with a detailed evaluation of the proposed SEMMMS major road schemes and will include traffic, environmental and framework assessment details. Work to support this process has continued in conjunction with the consultation work. 7. It is not appropriate for the three authorities to move to formal approval of lines for the schemes until the proposals have been approved by the DfT through the Annex E submission – which will give some security of funding. In the meantime there is an understanding that the Highways Agency (HA) will continue the protection of the land for the schemes. A523 MACCLESFIELD TO POYNTON IMPROVEMENTS 8. An element of the SEMMMS recommendations was that improvement to the A523 between Macclesfield and Poynton should be single carriageway, with improvements mainly on the line of the existing road, with the possibility of some shorter sections of new road away from the existing line - replacing the HA’s previous off-line dual carriageway improvement. Phase 1 consultation sought views on the principles of the SEMMMS recommendation and although there was very broad support for them some specific comments were made both for and against that relating to the A523 south of Poynton. The primary focus of the scheme development work to date has been on the MAELR scheme and the Poynton and Stockport Bypasses. The DfT’s approval of only £1.5m of the £3.0m supplementary SEMMMS bid for 2004/05 has resulted in a necessary reduction in scheme preparation work and little progress has been made on the A523 Poynton to Macclesfield improvement. In terms of the overall implementation of the SEMMMS schemes this delay will not have significant consequences. However, it is appropriate to consider how this work might be taken forward when funding permits, hopefully towards the end of this financial year. Early public involvement in the process of developing options will be necessary and some initial data collection work can be progressed to help inform this process. Consideration will be given to public involvement options and reported later this year. SHORT-TERM SEMMMS COMPLEMENTARY MEASURES 9. The DfT has funded supplementary LTP submissions for SEMMMS ‘short- term’ works for the last three years. These works have been required to support the SEMMMS objectives and, in Cheshire, have included major maintenance works, bus service improvements, traffic management and safety proposals (as well as assisting funding the Macclesfield Bus Interchange and Rail Station Access scheme). The money has also been used to fund the development of detailed proposals for the major highway schemes. The DfT has requested that the annual bids for funding such proposals are brought together in a proposal/plan to cover the period to 2010 and that it covers all authorities included in the SEMMMS area. This type of document is unique and it is being developed in discussion with the DfT. Although it is likely that funding will only be formally approved on an annual basis, the plan will form the basis of the continued funding of SEMMMS ‘complementary works and it will include an outline of proposals and details of targets and objectives. The final submission will be included in the Council’s 2004 APR approval process. RECOMMENDED : That the report be noted.