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Councillors continue to avoid answers regarding extra filters

After an FoI, several emails and a story on Manchester World, a resident has finally managed to get an answer from Councillor Noor regarding the situation on Manor Road. However, all it does is raise more questions:

The reply reads as follows (emphasis our own):

“Dear [resident],

Apologies for the late reply, we have had many emails coming in during the last few weeks.

I believe that there has been a misunderstanding. During the first phase consultation, we felt that it was not the appropriate time to add additional filters but rather focus on highways proposals for boundary roads such as Broom Lane that needs investment and interventions to enable children and residents to cross the road safely and to introduce much-needed speed calming measures.

The meeting agenda was not to discuss the permanent positions of the filters installed but instead to try and find solutions for these roads and to bring in a scheme that would go beyond filters.

The consultation took place and the results were published by the MCC team. During the consultation it became apparent that the filter on Manor road and Henderson St were not in the best location, therefore we agreed that the residents should be given an opportunity to comment on the best locations during phase two, hence it is included in this consultation.

We continue to pass all the comments and comments we receive directly from the residents to the project team to feed into the consultation. I trust this clarifies the situation.

This is not good enough

“Appropriate time”

It is stated in the email that 3 months wasn’t the ‘appropriate time’ to add additional filters, despite both Manor Road filters being supported at this time. It also appears 6 months was not the ‘appropriate time’ to fix these leaks. And neither were the final plans…

So we ask councillors, when IS the “appropriate time” to create safer, quieter streets, if not now, during a landmark project designed to reduce short car journeys?

The appropriate time is now.

“Not in the best location”

This isn’t the whole story, as remember the councillors are also REMOVING filtering from this section of manor road between the parks, it is stated “it became apparent that the filter on manor road was not in the best location”.

Residents clearly decided a filtered street here WAS the best location, as consultation results have shown. This is councillors going directly against three previous consultation results, one of which supported two Manor Road filters (prior to installation) and two of which showed support for the current filter they’re removing (as they no longer asked about new filters in the consultation).

Councillors must stop thinking about the “filter” as the object of the consultations. When people respond, they’re responding to the filtered streets they create, not the wooden boxes. You cannot argue the filters at Barlow Road junction provide the same filtered space as the one residents were asked about at the consultation (between the parks). They create completely different filtered spaces.

The councillor’s “solution” removes the key filtered space between the parks.

Street vs street

Furthermore, the councillor in this email is pits boundary road measures and filters against each other, as if they’re some sort of “competing” interventions.

The truth is both are needed, as we called for in our “Join the Dots” petition, and you cannot “plan” for one without the other and we strongly condemn this language from the councillor that seeks to pit residents against residents.

We have been happy to see the ambition of main road measures but the truth is if the gaps in the filter network are not fixed, alot of the money spent on traffic calming on main roads will be wasted, as the measures can easily be avoided by cutting through the side streets at speed.

The councillors however, seem to be happy continuing on filling the pool with water whilst it still has holes in.

Consultation

Furthermore, it seems like the councillors do not want to receive any opinions on how to solve the Manor road filter, as there is no option to select it in the consultation list.

With the constant delaying, lack of answers, and passing of the buck, at some point it feels like councillors don’t even want to hear opinions about how filters are needed here, and the setup of the consultation is to ensure that feedback cannot be heard.

There is no option to feed back on Manor road filter, as the councillor suggests [taken 13:30 on 26th Jan]

Solution

There is an easy solution for councillors to solve the problem on Manor Road, and they still refuse to acknowledge it:

  1. Move the current manor road filter to the manor road/mount road junction
  2. Add a second filter at the new suggested location at Barlow Road, to prevent through traffic from the A6
  3. Use temporary filters from this project phase to create a pedestrianised space from the start of greenbank park to the manor road/mount road junction, meaning cars cannot park here and flytippers cannot access the space.
S4Ps complete plan for the area incorporating highways and resident suggestions, including a filter on Dunstable street

We will continue to fight for ALL streets, especially the ones forgotten about in the latest plans, until we can have a neighbourhood that prioritises people over cars, and helps build a better future where active travel is easy and enjoyable.

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