Burnage Road Closures Cause Concern For Residents Freedom

The road closures, as part of the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood scheme, have caused controversy amongst residents who believe they didn’t have a choice when their neighbourhood roads were blocked off.

The aim of these closures was to stop ‘rat-running’, reduce emissions to improve air quality, and promote cycling and active travel.

An increase of attention has come after the scheme was removed in Withington after an ambulance was blocked from getting to an unwell child.

A consultation conducted for Phase 1 showed 70% of 917 people believed that the Active Travel neighbourhood was good, however a Freedom of Information request conducted by local resident Kay Tee revealed that for recently closed streets Milwain Road and Linden Road, 46% of 204 people were in favour of the closure.

Bollard blocking cars

Speaking about his street, Kay said: ‘The majority of people don’t even know there was a consultation. I don’t know. I’ve been living their for 10 years, my neighbours been living their for 45 years, no-one asked anyone. That was the main issue. That no-one was asked.’

‘600 people were for it in the entirety of Levenshulme, and just those 2 streets there are 400 people against it,’ continues Kay

Concerning consultation, the Streets For People group have said ‘No amount of consultation is ever sufficient, none of the reasons for change ever compel, none of the inconvenience ever worthwhile.’

The Levenshulme and Burnage traffic calming measures, initially trialled in 2021, became permanent in 2023 after Manchester City Council secured £7 million in funding. Currently, 15 streets are impacted, with planters and bollards blocking cars to improve safety.

Tom, representing Streets for People, said: “People complained about the safety of the area for years and there were dozens of responses in the consultations to that.

“Of course, when you do something with the streets not everybody is going to like it, but it’s been done for good reasons, which people have been campaigning and calling on for a long time. There are things the council does that aren’t popular… but this is.”

The Streets For People group created a myth buster pamphlet addressing the concerns of Active Travel programs here which address the concerns surrounding health, emissions and ease of access for emergency services

Stop the Road Closure sing displayed in nearby house

‘I’ve lived here for 10 years, and congestion has only increased after the scheme, and the councillors refuse to acknowledge it because they didn’t collect any data officially beforehand to see how travel time would increase,’ continues Kay

‘They’ve not provided any data, any evidence to compare it to, its all anecdotal, its all subjective.’

Concerns have also been raised about ease of access for emergency services due to the recently installed bollards: ‘beforehand you could just go through the bollard and be at the infirmary in 5 minutes, but now you have to go from Stockport Road to Albert Road. Albert Road is such a tiny road that if there’s traffic there, and an ambulance wants to get through, it can’t.’

Kay behind bollard

‘There was no health and safety assessment done, no data gathered. Because they know no-ones going to oppose it, they just came and put it up. That’s the simplest way to say it.’

‘Labour’s got so complacent that they know they’re always going to win. They don’t worry about the next term because they’re always going to have a next term,’ says Kay as he diagnoses his problem as to why he feels his voice, and the many others who oppose this scheme, are not heard.

“Following each stage of consultation and engagement residents’ views and concerns have been considered and this has led to adaptations such as the new addition of pedestrian crossing at traffic lights on two busy junctions,” Manchester City Council said

‘Broadly the scheme has been received well by residents who have been able to navigate their neighbourhood more safely, but it is also important to note that where concerns have been raised the Council has listened and adapted the scheme accordingly.’