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.


Levenshulme councillors fail to provide answers on blocking street safety measures for Manor Road area.

  • Councillors failed to explain why they blocked two filters requested by residents and MCC Highways that would’ve provided a mile of safe filtered streets off of Manor Road
  • They claimed residents should feedback if they want current filter to remain, despite this not being an option in the consultation form
  • They claimed other streets must be dealt with first, but streets in question already due to receive extensive measures whilst Manor Road remains unfixed
  • They refused to state they’ll keep what little protection Manor Road already has, meaning the space between two parks will return to a dangerous “racetrack” 

What happened at the meeting?

Levenshulme councillors still refused to take responsibility for ignoring residents’ feedback and Manchester City Council Highways Service recommendations for a second filter on Manor Road.

Councillors Basat Shiekh, Dzidra Noor, and Zahid Hussain attended our Manor Road Community Get Together event on a chilly and blustery Sunday 30th January to answer residents’ questions about moving the Manor Road filter, and provide much-needed clarity about the proposals for this area.

Why did councillors block the second filter?

Information from a freedom of information request to MCC Highways Department found that:

local members did not feel that at this stage of the scheme Highways Service should implement additional interventions” 

Councillors (referred to as ‘members’ in the FOI) were quick to deny this, with Cllr Noor saying they’ve “never said no”, and Cllr Shiekh claiming they’ve “never rejected anything”, we are expected to believe this despite the extra filters not happening, and an FoI response signed off by the executive member for transport Tracey Rawlins confirming this was the decision of the councillors.

Whilst Highways and Councillors continue to pass the buck on lack of ambition, it is residents who are left with more dangerous streets and no answers. Why were the proposals for an additional filter on Manor Road blocked? What are the councillors going to do next? The councillors again failed to answer these questions.

Cllr Shiekh defended the Cllrs decision (despite it supposedly not being their decision), claiming that “We will not support any additional filters if there is no support for the boundary roads”. Three years into the Levenshulme Active Neighbourhood scheme, we would have expected the councillor to be more familiar with how filtered streets work, and the next phase of plans, but in absence of this we have provided an explanation below:

We have always supported improvements for all streets including boundary roads (as can be seen in our petition), and in fact the two main boundary roads near the Manor Road filter (Matthews Lane and Broom Lane), are receiving extensive pedestrian/traffic calming measures and pedestrian crossings in Phase 2 of the scheme. So now that boundary roads are getting extra support, it must be time for that filter Basat?

Overview map showing extensive plans for interventions on Boundary Roads.

Filtering side streets creates a network of protected active travel routes, which means those who may have previously driven their journeys may walk or cycle instead. And fewer journeys taken by car = fewer cars on the roads = better conditions on boundary roads too. They have been proven to be more effective than traffic calming measures alone.

The councillors said residents should “feedback to the consultation” to get a second filter on Manor Road, seemingly unaware that they were receiving feedback in public at that very moment. They also failed to acknowledge that there was still no option to feedback on this filter in the consultation form, meaning many residents would not have been aware they had a say on this area of the scheme.

Why filtering is needed.

Cllr Shiekh continued: “We commit to a safe Levenshulme, if that means it’s filters then it’s filters, if it’s not filters, it’s speed bumps, if it’s speed calming measures then it’s that.” But residents here want filtered streets. This was clear from previous consultations, and this was clear from what the community had to say to the councillors at the event, succintly summed up by one resident: 

“Be our voice in these matters and speak up for residents who think that the blockage [filtering] of this street works.”

– Local resident

A second filter on Manor Road would create over a mile of streets protected from through traffic, an extensive network of safe streets for walking and cycling, and a community space joining the two parks. No amount of traffic calming or speed bumps will ever achieve that. This plan can easily be achieved with many of the spare wooden planters that are now being replaced by more permanent infrastructure in final plans. When challenged to name another intervention that would add as much value as this one filter, the councillors had no response.

Streets for people’s suggested plan, with a potential third filter to create a fully pedestrian space between the parks.

The current situation with just one filter doesn’t achieve this: the filter’s current location creates a strip of road residents have described as like a  “racetrack”, where they have had to “scoop dead cats up off the road”. The section of Manor Road between the current filter and the junction with Mount Road acts as a ‘no man’s land’ being claimed by dangerous drivers. With a second filter, it could be reclaimed as a space for community and active travel, just like we showed on Sunday.  

The current situation: Good but not perfect, and yet councillors are removing this safe green space between the parks.

And the new proposed location for the Manor Road filter won’t achieve this either. In fact, the proposed new filter location will reopen 6 residential streets to rat-running traffic, and fill the area between the parks with vehicles.

The councillors new suggestion, see how it allows people to cut through from Matthews lane and race between the two parks.

In short, the current situation is good, but not perfect, councillors rejected the perfect solution, and are now taking away what good was left for these residents.

We must keep the pressure on the council.

There was one exchange we felt summed up the councillor’s approach to this area, where Cllr Sheikh stated that if more funding became available down the line, maybe a filter could be added between the parks on Manor Road, to which an exasperated resident exclaimed:

“It’s already there!”

This was met with exasperated laughter from other residents, as it became clear Councillors seem unable to support the positive change this filter has made even when it’s staring them in the face.

This was after residents spent time socialising, having hot drinks, whilst bulb-planting in the planters and litter-picking the street. There was also a chance to try out the different options for cycling around manchester, including the bee bikes and Cargoroo cargocycles, two more avenues by which we hope councillors in Levenshulme (and Burnage) could encourage more active travel.

The consultation period might be over now, but we won’t stop fighting until active travel is a possible safe option for all Levenshulme and Burnage residents, even if councillors refuse to.

You can help by writing to the councillors and voicing your support for a second Manor Road filter and more active travel improvements across the area, including inclusion in both the Bee bike and Cargoroo trial zones.

After all, they told us that the scheme “doesn’t end here”, so it’s up to us all to keep up the pressure and hold them to their word.

Streets for people have leafleted every house multiple times, held public engagement events, spoke up publicly in support of these vital measures at every turn, and yet it is a challenge to find a single public statement of support by ANY councillor in this supposed final consultation phase. It is simply not good enough.

We thank Councillor Sheikh for being willing to have a go at riding in the wheelbarrow of the Cargoroo cargobike, and hope he enjoyed the experience, but for once we’d like for Councillors to lead the way on this project, rather than residents doing all the hard work for them!

We’re fully prepared to help bring councillors with us on these vital measures, even if that means literally.

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.


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]


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.


Open letter to the leadership of MCC

Streets for People have written the following open letter to Cllr Tracey Rawlins, executive member for transport at Manchester City Council, in which we call for a public meeting for residents to be updated, and have the chance to discuss, MCC’s Levenshulme & Burnage Active Neighbourhood project. We will update you as soon as we have a reply.

In the meantime, please ask friends and family to sign our Join the Dots petition.

“To Cllr Tracey Rawlins. cc: Chris Boardman, Cllr Azra Ali, Cllr Ben Clay, Cllr Bev Craig, Cllr Zahid Hussain, Cllr Dzidra Noor, Cllr Basat Sheikh, Afzal Khan MP

5 July 2021

Dear Cllr Rawlins (and copied parties)

I am Chair of Streets for People Levenshulme and Burnage, a group of local residents campaigning for better walking and cycling facilities in our area, and to end to the dominance of motor vehicles, which is rapidly accelerating the climate emergency, making us sick from air pollution and reinforcing inequalities.

As you will be aware, Manchester City Council has a long-running Active Neighbourhood project in our area. We are now nearly seven months into what was supposed to be a six month trial of modal filters, with the intention of submitting a business case for an extra £1.8 million in funding for a permanent scheme to significantly improve walking cycling facilities in our area following the trial period.

Although you will be aware that the scheme has been a source of debate and occasional disagreement, you will also be aware that the scheme has consistently demonstrated clear majority support through the various ways in which it has been consulted on. Indeed, the consultation prior to the beginning of the trail demonstrated, in the words of MCC, an ‘overwhelming’ two thirds majority in favour of the much more ambitious plans than MCC subsequently implemented. You will also know that MCC is committed both to vastly improving active travel infrastructure across the city (having signed up to the Made to Move proposals), and that MCC has promised to cut carbon emissions in the city to ‘net zero’ by 2040, which entails very quickly reducing car-based emissions (and therefore trips by car).

Streets for People recognise that the filter trial has brought significant benefits to many residents, particularly the 40% of households with no access to a car, most of who are from the most economically disadvantaged parts of our community. We have seen more people riding bikes, more people walking comfortably in the road (where pavement parking prevents comfortable pavement walking), and we know that it has given confidence to many residents for whom walking was previously not an option (for example the child of one of our members who could not previously walk to school unaccompanied because of dangerous rat-running traffic). Removal of the trial filters would only be a backwards step.

However, the measures implemented so far are currently insufficient to meet the aims of the active neighbourhood project, or the funding criteria for a permanent scheme. The watering-down of the trial, plus the lack of new crossings and other traffic calming measures on so-called boundary roads, means that the trial has not created a network of safe walking and cycling routes between residential properties and community amenities, such as shops, mosques and bus stops. Also, despite extra extensive consultation, the North Burnage section of the trial, due to begin in the Spring, is yet to emerge. Finally, while a two hour school street trial is very welcome, we need a much faster and more ambitious programme of school streets than the one that has so far developed. Our ‘join the dots petition’, which has now been signed by over 300 residents, makes these points strongly.

We feel that the original aims of the scheme can be met if MCC would be clearer on the important social, economic and environmental reasons for seriously tackling car dependency. MCC could then build on the solid majority base of support for project and its aims, to take even more of the community with it and create an infrastructure which makes it attractive and viable for residents to leave their car at home for short journeys.

More than anything, we believe it is time for MCC to hold a public meeting (online if necessary) to update residents on the project and what it intends to do next. Whatever anyone’s opinion on the matter, everyone in the community deserves to be told what MCC’s plans are, and the opportunity to put their case across both to MCC and fellow residents.

Positive change that makes a real difference was never easy. Above all, our community deserves clear communication and the chance to speak with each other, away from the divisive and, for  many residents, inaccessible space of social media. With a commitment to democracy, leadership, and taking climate science seriously, we will create a healthier and safer community for all residents.

We look forward to receiving your commitment to stage a public meeting, in which the project managers address the community and allow residents to offer their views in response, to be held in the next four weeks.

Thank you


Tom Haines-Doran

Chair, Streets for People Levenshulme and Burnage”


School Streets are go!

School Streets - The movement for children's freedom grows - Playing Out

Manchester City Council are trialling a School Street on Thursday 1st July at Alma Park Primary School, following years of hard campaigning by local residents.

A School Street prevents non-residential traffic from passing by or close to a school. School streets are common in other parts of the country. They are proven to make children’s journey to school safer, and to allow more parents to leave their car at home, taking walking and cycling options instead, which improves children’s health and reduces air pollution.

The red dots on the map below show where temporary closure of roads to motor vehicles will take place, leaving the area around Alma Park traffic-free for the time of the trial, which will run from 2-4pm. If parents have to drive for whatever reason, they are encouraged to park at Tesco’s on Alma Road, just a very short walk from the school gates. Tesco are aware of this arrangement.

Local residents, buses, and essential emergency vehicles will still be able to access the school street area at these times, but will be slowly guided by volunteer marshals. Because Alma Park School lacks the capacity to provide marshals itself, it is asking volunteers from parents and the community to help in this role, for which training will be provided. If you are interested in volunteering, please email as soon as possible.

Streets for People enthusiastically welcomes this trial, noting that it has taken a considerable effort of organising to keep the pressure on Manchester City Council to get this far. All of those involved in campaigning should be very proud of what they have achieved so far.

In the lead-up to the trial and beyond we also need to think about what a permanent School Street scheme would look like. Most obviously it would need to also involve St Mary’s school, just south of the current trial area.

Manchester City Council have chosen a large area for the trial, which is why so many Marshalls are needed. In the long term this is unsustainable, needing 20 volunteers or staff to cover three or more hours of marshalling Monday to Friday.

Things would be a lot simpler with a bus gate (bus-only through access) on Errwood Road, and a filter on Alma Road, or some similar arrangement, which would reduce through traffic permanently, putting less stress on the School Street area. This was part of the original Active Neighbourhood plans, but the Active Neighbourhood has been delayed to ‘Phase 2’ of the project, after further consultation. Phase 2 was due to begin in the Spring, but Manchester City Council have yet to announce the reason for its delay. It is high time they informed the community of its plans for this area.

But bus gates and filters do not completely solve the issue of the polluted and dangerous school runs that are damaging the health and wellbeing of the community. School streets are needed too, especially to solve the problem of turning vehicles dropping off and picking up kids (with St Andrews on Broom Avenue being a good example). So, despite the limitations of the trial, it’s good to finally see some activity on the ground.

Streets for People members will be volunteering our time to make the trial as successful as possible. It will be a steep learning curve for all of us, but it is the right thing to do. As always, we want to make this work for the whole community and have the widest possible conversation about lessons learned and how to make much greater progress. We also want to see similar progress on all of the schools in Burnage and Levenshulme. The funding is available to make that happen. Trialling one school at a time over several months and years is too slow to deal with the air pollution and climate emergencies.

Onwards and upwards!


Come to our community events!

Streets for People are proud to announce a series of socially distanced community events. We’re here to help our neighbours get out of their cars and to walk and cycle in our community and beyond.

Come join us! All events are free!


Letter to our neighbours on the One Levenshulme protest

We support your right to protest, even if we don’t agree with your desire to remove the trial modal filters and suspend the Active Neighbourhood project.

If you really want to reduce traffic and air pollution that means reducing the amount of journeys made by car. 30% of journeys in Manchester made by car are under 1km. If we could transfer many of those journeys to walking and cycling, that would make a big impact on traffic and pollution.

Making walking and cycling attractive enough for those that currently drive involves providing a safe and comfortable network of infrastructure to allow that to happen. That means linking filtered roads with crossings and speed calming measures on main roads.

We need both filtering and main road interventions for a functioning active neighbourhood. If you narrow and add crossings to main roads without filtering the adjacent streets, cars would redirect down these back streets. We need a low traffic neighbourhood, not just a slow traffic neighourhood.

One Levenshulme (OL) ignore that the trial of filters will unlock £1.8 million in funding, which can be used on permanent measures, including measures for main roads. Removing the trial would be devastating for residents on both filtered and unfiltered streets. Filters mean Funding for our community.

We thought this was common knowledge. In December last year OL supported the trial of 14 of the planned filters and an additional 5 paused filters, which they acknowledged had ‘strong support from the community‘ (OL have since deleted that post, but we took the precaution of archiving it for posterity, since we suspected such support was a temporary position short of campaigning for the total removal of filters later on.)

We mustn’t forget that at the major public consultation that took place ahead of the trials, some 2/3rds of residents supported them going ahead. There is clear majority in favour of both the concept of filtering rat runs and trialing filter locations. OL’s petition calls for the scrapping of the ongoing online public consultation while at the same time their website encourages residents to participate in it. Which is it to be? It’s not right to only accept consultation outcomes where they reflect your opinions.

S4P will continue to campaign for fewer cars, less pollution and safer walking and cycling on every street. This is why we started our “join the dots” campaign that has 3 major asks:

  • Take action on “boundary roads”
  • Strengthen the network of modal filters to make safer routes, not just individually filtered streets
  • Encourage walking and cycling via other measures, including School Streets and walking buses, improvements to pavements, provision for cycle parking, etc.

Only with all of these actions will a true active neighbourhood be possible.

We have also put together a list of detailed suggestions for plans for every street with through traffic in Levenshulme. Take a look.

As ever, we would be happy to meet with the leaders of OL to discuss how to constructively move forwards, and heal some of the hurt in our community. OL have never taken us up on that, but the door is always open.

Much more needs to be done by the council, which is why we continue campaigning, but nothing will be achieved by ripping out filters, reopening rat runs and returning to the status quo.


Taking a ride with Nooralom and Sham

Street’s for People’s Chair, Tom Haines-Doran went for a ride with Nooralom and Sham, two local residents who have taken YouTube by storm through their ‘2 Muslim Night Riders’ channel.

Tom said:

“It was a real pleasure to go for a ride with Nooralom and Sham. Their videos, which started after the first lockdown, have been inspirational. They show how cycling is great for mental health and companionship. The ability to get out there to green spaces has been a blessing during the last year.

“What’s really great is that they’re encouraging others to join in too, especially those that haven’t been on a bike for a while. When we come out of lockdown, Streets for People will be looking to help organise events which will allow more people to get on their bike, from all parts of our community.

“We look forward to working with Nooralom, Sham and others to make that happen.”


Public meeting recording

Recording of our public meeting with Clean Air Levenshulme. It was a very constructive meeting where we launched our ‘join the dots’ campaign.

Councillors made a number of promises to the community, which was great to see, although we will clearly need to keep the pressure up if we are to see the active travel neighbourhood we want to see.


Public meeting: Safer streets, cleaner air

Streets for People and Clean Air Levenshulme are pleased to announce an online public meeting for Burnage and Levenshule residents on Sunday 7th February at 3pm.

A month after the installation of trial filters in Levenshulme as part of the Active Neighbourhood project, we ask what Manchester City Council and the community can do together to improve our streets for walking and cycling, to make our community less reliant on cars to get around. Making it easier to get around on foot and bike helps tackle inequality and creates less air pollution in Burnage and Levenshulme.

We ask what should be done next in the Active Neighbourhood project, and where the council are at in improving unfiltered roads and creating safe ‘school streets’ for our youngest residents.

Unfortunately Chris Boardman is now unable to make the meeting. However, we’ve still got a great line up, including local councillors and speakers from Streets for People and Clean Air Levenshulme, with more to be confirmed.

Please email any questions that you would like to put to Manchester City Council about School Streets and the Active Neighbourhood. We’ll then put these to the speakers.

Please also note that this meeting is for people local to Burnage and Levenshulme.

Children welcome.

Register to attend here:

Children welcome