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S4P: Statement on the active neighbourhood update

Manchester City Council has provided an update on the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood project.

Late last year, the council launched the latest of many consultation exercises to understand residents’ views about its proposed plans for the final, permanent scheme, which would unlock £millions of extra funding for our area.

We are pleased to learn that around 70% of nearly 1, 000 responses the council received supported more measures to improve walking and cycling in the area – a figure that is consistent with the many rounds of consultation that have taken place over the past four years.

However, we are disappointed with the lack of extra information that the council has provided, which feels like a holding statement instead of something that will bring immediate action on the ground, after huge delays already.

This project is a minor one, in the scheme of the council’s stated intent to vastly increase active travel infrastructure, and reduce car use, in the face of the terrible threat that climate change poses on all of our residents. The continued delays to this project not only prevent more benefits reaching residents sooner, but they also delay the many further measures that are needed in the Burnage and Levenshulme wards to truly make active travel the preferred choice for shorter journeys.

We also note that the update lacks detail, and fails to address concerns that we have raised over a number of years that the scheme seems to fall short on measures in the Burnage ward. It also underlines that the council seem determined to not to consider the use of a handful of extra traffic filters throughout the scheme, which are necessary to create safe and joined-up active travel routes between residents’ houses and community amenities.

Once again, the council is listing measures (are they new, or previously announced?) without visualisations and maps, leaving residents scratching their heads as to what the plans are and how they join up together.

With Burnage councillor Bev Craig now leading the council, we expect a marked change from the dithering and delay that has beset this project, and others like it across Manchester. With the cost of living crisis biting, and fuel prices rising, we need safe walking and cycling infrastructure now to ensure everyone has the ability to get around.

More than anything, the council now needs to finally decide what it wants to do with the project and to start construction. No more delays. No more excuses.

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