Council’s potential new scheme following controversial Withington low traffic trial

  • End of Withington low traffic scheme
  • Planters to remain on Parsonage Road and Burlington Road
  • New proposed traffic calming measures

The council have confirmed that the low traffic neighbourhood scheme in Withington will not progress, replacing it with a proposed solution.

It comes following a six month trial of the scheme by Manchester City Council. The ‘Parsonage Road safer streets project’ has ran since August 2023, implementing planters at junctions around Withington to block cars but give access to pedestrians and cyclists.

While the council has said the current trail will not be made permanent past April, they are looking at potential alternatives to minimise traffic in residential areas.

These include traffic calming measures, ‘like raised tables at junctions and speed cushions to try to address some of the issues which were raised by residents.’

Low traffic neighbourhood planters in middle of Burlington Road, blocking cars from entering road.
Planters on Burlington Road just off Wilmslow Road junction are set to remain. Credit: Thomas Why

As a result, most current planters will be removed but some will remain at the junctions of Parsonage Road and Wilmslow Road, as well as Burlington Road and Heaton Road.

This decision has been a result of ‘extensive feedback’ from the community. The original scheme is known to have divided opinion in the borough, with people both praising and criticising the trial.

An online petition calling for an end to the scheme gathered over 1,600 signatures.

Resident, Lorna said: “It is a shame some of them are being removed. They made sure people weren’t reckless when driving.”

The original objectives set out by the council are expected to be achieved through the prospective scheme. The council’s goal is ‘to create streets where people are prioritised over cars, which are safe and attractive spaces, and to deter people from using residential roads as cut-throughs.’

The discarded planters were removed from the 8th April. It took approximately two weeks for the measures to be removed and pavements to be reinstated where bollards were in place.

Low traffic neighbourhood planters in middle of Parsonage Road, blocking cars from entering road.
Planters on Parsonage Road at Wilmslow Road junction are also set to remain. Credit: Thomas Why

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council, Jonathan Rees, said: “A key factor in the development of any scheme is public support, and while data in Withington did show there were improvements being made, it was clear from feedback that the majority of people surveyed were not satisfied with how it had been implemented.

“Throughout this entire scheme the Council has wanted to make sure that local residents had a voice in how their community was shaped. Two filters have been retained, and the Council will be monitoring their impact over the next six months. While we understand there are some people who will not be happy with this decision, it is important to note that the area will not be reverting to how it was before the trial.

“The Council is working to secure additional funding that would allow the installation of different traffic calming measures to address concerns that have been made by residents throughout the trial. Safety has always been at the heart of what the Council aimed to achieve with this scheme and we would like to reassure residents that efforts will continue make Withington’s streets cleaner, greener and safer,” he added.

The prospective alternative scheme is still yet to be allocated funding.