Jeremy Hoad – Independent

How would you encourage more local journeys to be taken by sustainable modes of transport?

Encouraging people to get around differently can be done by ensuring our existing infrastructure is maintained and creating new infrastructure that provides opportunities to support and encourage “sustainable modes of transport”. The same goes for public services: buses, trains and trams need to be cheaper, more effective, easier to use and get people where they need to go.

The move by the government to electric vehicles is positive but we need the infrastructure to support them. We were promised electric vehicle charging points in Levenshulme Station car park but they have not appeared.

We need to take action quicker to support more “sustainable modes of transport”. The most sustainable way of getting around is walking yet our pavements are in a shocking state, many do not have dropped kerbs or tactile paving and many of our traffic junctions have no pedestrian controls. Even where those exist some are dangerous such as the crossing at the top of Albert Road which is not synchronised with the lights on Stockport Road.

We don’t even have any cycle lanes in Levenshulme with none proposed under the council’s current Active Neighbourhood scheme. That is a missed opportunity and needs to be addressed.

How would you as a local candidate tackle air pollution and what do you propose should be done at council level to help reduce the pollution on our streets?

I will continue to fight for improvements in Levenshulme as I have always done over the years I have lived here. I will listen to residents and businesses and use local knowledge to work together to find solutions. The people who live and work here know what the problems are that contribute to air pollution and have already proposed so many great solutions. The problem we have is our council is not listening and seems to have decided on what will happen before consulting with people locally. That approach must change.

We need better, fairer, safer transport solutions that will bring practical benefits for all. We need an Active Neighbourhood scheme that helps people and does not punish some people with higher levels of pollution without providing effective improvements for our whole community.

At a local level we need to find solutions that work for Levenshulme. I don’t have space here to provide a detailed list but I have already worked with residents and businesses across our community to propose positive and effective solutions to our council.

At a council level we need better public transport and positive action. I will fight for that. There are city wide and regional attempts to tackle air pollution and I support actions and initiatives that will help make our streets safer and less polluted.

What would you do to help bring the community back together so that all residents feel included in council decision and future regeneration schemes?

Everyone should support the aims of the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood scheme to make it easier to walk and cycle in our area and to make our roads safer and less polluted. I do. I don’t know where you got the figure of 60% from but if the scheme had been done properly it should be much higher than that. But after two years and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money spent we have no clear plan, a partial trial, ineffective monitoring and data gathering and a frustrated and fractured community.

This scheme should have brought us together but it has driven us apart and that is squarely the fault of our Labour council. Sadly the council has managed and implemented the scheme very badly over the past two years. Many people in Levenshulme have been ignored and excluded. The engagement, consultation and information has been poor and ineffective. Even the trial was implemented badly taking so many by surprise with signs and bollards taking weeks to install.

We need a strong voice to hold the council to account and secure fair, effective  improvements. We have not had that. We deserve better. All voices in our community should be listened to. We need better consultation that is more inclusive. We need our questions answered. We need a scheme that does what it has not done so far and be community led.

  1. Would you support a ban on pavement parking in Manchester?

I support practical and effective measures to make our roads easier to use for everyone. Pavements should remain accessible even with pavement parking allowed but without enforcement problems persist. Rules that are not enforced are not effective.

Many of our roads are narrow and residents need to park, businesses need deliveries. We need solutions that work, not rules that are not enforced and would make the situation worse.

We should be looking at using one way streets more combined with other measures to relieve pavement parking and make our roads safer and more useable for all. Delamere Road is a good example of where a one way street can help but our Labour council wanted to remove this. Some of the planters have been installed making deliveries to businesses harder and encouraging pavement parking. If our council listens to our community we can find more effective solutions together. I will listen to people in Levenshulme and hold the council to account for daft decisions.

2. Would you support an improved bus network, including expanded services and routes and increasing the dedicated bus lane network in Manchester? 

Yes. Unfortunately under our Labour council and Labour Greater Manchester Mayor we have suffered cuts and reductions to services in recent years (eg 171, 172, 169, 150).

Positive changes to bring our buses under greater public control have recently been proposed but this is against a backdrop of service cuts making it harder for people to get around by bus.

We need a modern, efficient, cheap and effective bus service. Improving stops with live arrival time information would encourage more people to use buses. We need investment and improvements, not cuts and excuses.

3. Would you support improved rail services and access at Levenshulme station, including step-free access and for more frequent services and routes?

Yes. I have supported campaigns to improve access at Levenshulme Station for many years. It is not acceptable that our train station is so difficult to access for many and impossible for others.

Sadly, despite the promises and assurances we have been given, services have not been fully restored to what they were before the electrification of the Macclesfield line. Reducing services and restricting access does not encourage and support using the train.

The station mural and artwork, planters and station improvements secured by the Friends of Levenshulme Station show how we value our station. Our community does a lot to support our station. Our council must do more to secure the improvements we need.

4. Would you support the implementation of School Streets across Levenshulme / Burnage?

Yes. We have been promised School Streets for two years as part of the Active Neighbourhood scheme but so far there hasn’t even been a trial. Levenshulme Labour councillors promised this last year again as a priority but so far we have nothing.

We can also learn from good practice at local schools such as the walking buses and park and stride initiatives at Birchfields Primary School. Their initiatives were praised by Chris Boardman, the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Tsar when he visited the school. Let’s work together, learn from each other and share what works from examples on our doorstep across Levenshulme. Children, parents and schools need support, not excuses and empty promises from our council.

5. Would you support infrastructure to improve safety on ‘boundary roads’ including traffic calming and pedestrian crossings?

Yes. I have been arguing for years for more traffic calming, speed, width and weight reductions and more crossings. The roads where these things are needed are not “boundary roads”, they are densely populated residential roads where people are suffering illegal levels of pollution, limited or non-existent crossings and dangerous traffic on streets with schools.

Roads including Matthews Lane, Broom Lane, Cromwell Grove, Barlow Road, Mount Road, Albert Road and Stockport Road are in dire need of improvements. I have worked with residents and businesses across our community to make positive proposals for improvements that prioritise our busiest, most polluted and dangerous roads. Our Labour council is not listening.

Local groups that have sprung up to respond to the council’s Active Neighbourhood scheme are all making positive suggestions. Our Labour council is not listening. Listen to residents and businesses and the great ideas and solutions we have proposed.

6. Would you support action to strengthen the network of modal filters and provide safe active travel routes throughout Levenshulme /Burnage?

I have always supported the aims of the Active Neighbourhood but the scheme has been very badly managed and implemented so far by our Labour council. So far this is an opportunity that has been squandered.

One idea I have proposed to provide “safe active travel routes” is link up our fantastic parks and green spaces with crossings on roads such as Matthews Lane, Barlow Road, and Broom Lane and provide prioritised routes for walking and cycling linking Nutsford Vale, Greenbank Park and Field, Chapel Street Park, the Fallowfield Loop, Highfield Country Park and Cringle Park. This would make it easier and safer to get around, improve some of our busiest roads (several with schools), make it easier to get to our green spaces and really support more active travel and less car use. Smart thinking for better living locally.

It is not clear what you mean by “strengthen the network of modal filters”. We need to make sure we get improvements that are fair and effective. Even with the current trial knowing whether the planters are effective or not is impossible due to the lack of comprehensive or effective data gathering and monitoring. The council has made its job harder to make a strong business case to secure further funding because of the lack of hard data.

7. Would you support a segregated cycle lane for the A6 from Stockport to Manchester city centre?

I have argued for years that we need improved and effective cycles lanes. Another proposal I have made is that the council adopt a standing policy and requirement that all significant road layout changes and improvements should include cycle lanes automatically. Our Labour council and Councillors rejected that idea and persist in not only avoiding opportunities for cycle lanes but actually making things worse for cyclists.

The current roads scheme in Levenshulme and Burnage does not propose even one metre of cycle lane which is incredible for a scheme that includes as a central goal making it easier to cycle in the area. Keen and regular cyclists in Levenshulme have told me they don’t see how the current scheme will help them.

I was out standing in the sunshine and rain with our community protesting for cycle lanes along the A6 last year and out again listening to angry and frustrated residents and businesses just last week. I listen and fight for improvements in Levenshulme.

Something has gone badly wrong when the council does not listen to people living here and cyclists in the area are frustrated and disappointed with the proposals.

8. Would you support an enforced 20mph default speed limit in built-up areas in Levenshulme / Burnage?

This has already been introduced across Levenshulme with exceptions for some roads where the council said it was not possible. Having speed limits is of limited effectiveness, though, when there is little enforcement

9. Would you support implementation of a Clean Air Zone in Manchester (and across Gr Manchester) to meet legal air quality limits in the ‘shortest time possible’?

Yes, but this must be fair. Pricing people out of their vehicles when effective alternatives do not exist is unfair. The impact on businesses must be managed effectively as well. Sole traders and small businesses are the lifeblood of so much of our community and economy. They must be supported in the transition to a lower carbon future.

The people in Manchester previously voted against a Congestion Zone for the city and the council or the Greater Manchester Mayor should not introduce this by the back door without ensuring support for and from the people of Manchester. We must tackle pollution and congestion as a priority but we must do so in a fair way.

10. Would you support a tougher voluntary air quality limit of 30ug/m3 for nitrogen dioxide in Manchester?

First, the fact that very few air quality monitors have been installed for the Active Neighbourhood scheme and until last week it turns out that those that have been installed do not work is shameful. This is a council scheme that promised millions of pounds of investment but so far it has been a badly managed shambles. Proper air quality monitoring should have been a priority along with comprehensive traffic counts and modelling. I was told last year by those running the project that traffic modelling was not done and would not be done because it gave the “wrong results”.

The council must act to bring air quality and pollution within the current legal limits and then go further for the health of all of us. The fact we have illegal levels of pollution in Levenshulme proves that having targets or even lower limits is pointless if the existing legal limits are not met. Our Labour council is responsible and must be held accountable for putting our lives in danger.