To consider the attached report.
The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy gave a brief introduction of the report to the Committee. The report provided an overview of the work done to date on the Urmston Active Neighbourhood active travel programme. Following public consultation, a number of developments to improve active travel within the M41 area had been identified and put into routes. The report contained seven key routes with a complexity rating for the implementation of each route provided on page 9 of the report. The assessment informed the phasing of the implementation of the routes covered on pages 10 and 11 of the report.
The Director of Highways, Transport, and Environment added that the programme was moving from concept design to preliminary design. Had received 3400 suggestions from the consultation which had been taken and used to drawn up the routes shown in the report. The options had been presented to TFGM who provided suggestions on which areas to do. The service was currently putting together sets of recommendations based upon what was achievable given the funding and taking potential risks such as inflation and rising costs intro account. Once developed those recommendations would be put to the local ward councillors. The Committee were asked to look at the last page which detailed the stage gates for the remainder of the project. Preliminary design was to start in January 2023 following further discussions with TFGM.
The Chair asked a question on behalf of Councillor Carter which noted that the initial available funding was £6.5M and the proposal cost was £4M. It was then asked whether it was possible to remove route two from phase one and to implement phase two instead, which would bring the cost to around £6.3M and was still under the initial funding available. The Director of Highways, Transport, and Environment responded that the programme was moving to detailed design and if, following the conclusion of those designs, the costs came back lower than the funding available they would re-evaluate how to proceed. The Committee were reminded that this was only the first tranche of funding and it was hoped that eventually enough funding would be received to put all £18.5M worth of suggestions in place. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy added that the funding would be released in stages and changes at this stage could create issues in accessing the funding of the £6.5M tranche.
Councillor Procter spoke of the frustrations with the delays and how the biggest issue was around the lack of communication with the public about the programme. Councillor Procter realised that the Council had to meet the requirements set by Greater Manchester, but the residents needed to be kept informed with what was happening. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy stated that it was one of the Council’s first active neighbourhood programmes and had done a large amount of engagement originally which had raised expectations. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy had committed to meeting regularly with the M41 Councillors and those would continue and he asked that ward Councillors pass the information from those meetings onto residents. The Director of Highways, Transport, and Environment added that there had been some delays around communication and engagement with the project and changes had been made to improve this going forward. The Director of Highways, Transport, and Environment assure the Committee that the timeline was to have some works underway in January 2023 but that came with the caveat of having to meet the requirements of TFGM before they proceeded.
Councillor Coggins asked why the second route had been chosen when the route suggested by TFGM seemed to deliver a lot more in terms of changing the way people moved about within the area. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy responded that the discussions around the routes both with local ward Councillors and TFGM had been robust and provided a large amount of challenge. It was from those discussions that the second route had been drawn up and agreed upon. While the original route did have a lot of infrastructural changes for the areas a lot of that work was away from residential routes and would have had limited benefit for the residents of M41. Mark Ford provided additional information about the conversations with TFGM and the standards that the plans had to meet in order to get to the stage they were at. Mr Ford concluded by assuring the Committee that all barriers and constraints to active travel within the area reported within the consultation had been taken into account when developing the plans.
Councillor Thompson asked whether the meting listed within the report between one Trafford and TFGM had gone ahead and whether the outcome of the meeting had been optimistic with regards to delivering the project. Mark Ford informed the Committee that the meeting had gone ahead and the challenge from ward Councillors for a different route had been presented to TFGM and had agreed to proceed.
1) That the report be noted.
2) That the Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy commits to continue to mete with ward Councillors.
3) That ward councillors be asked to disseminate the information from those meetings to residents.