Residents worry over proposed Moston Lane Development Framework

Moston Lane residents have expressed worries over the proposed Moston Lane Development Framework presented to them by council officials.

Councillor Paula Appleby led the council team that met residents at the pre-executive approval consultation with the community, where many residents openly queried the plan, showed scepticism, and uttered words of anger at the Simpson Memorial Hall.

A council officer, whom the councillor assigned to speak with the media, Mr. James Collier, said the consultation was to gather the residents’ opinion. He said, “We would look at feedback and we would see what people have said. What they like and what they don’t, what adjustments they would like”. He said if they got positive responses and the council executives approved the proposal, they would begin to see the implementation of the projects.

However, residents who raised several concerns at the meeting preferred to remain anonymous. A resident who scanned the QR code to determine a planned construction in front of her house alleged that the different maps did not match. She snapped, “Don’t show us two maps. I want to know what you are doing in front of my house and your maps are not matching. See, that is utter rubbish. I am sorry. I don’t mean to be rude.” But the council officer, Richard Humphreys answered politely, “I don’t think that is the case.”

Another lady, who resides locally, noted that the last time council said they were moving out the shops on Moston Lane to improve the traffic congestion, but they did nothing. As she engaged the council officer, another resident shouted, “Everything is in a mess”. As the officer began to explain, another person screamed Moston Lane traffic jam is a shame. Many residents asked questions about the council’s plans for car parks, they explained circumstances where people living around Moston Lane found it difficult to find a space to park their vehicles close to their houses and the traffic jam which were the result of informal parking. Humphreys told them that the framework includes a plan to enhance the existing car parks and build new parks.

As the different people joined the clusters around each of two the three-legged boards where council officers’ stock their maps to explain the concept the questions about which buildings would be demolished kept coming. The officers assured the people that their plan was to avoid demolition as much as possible. According to him, the proposed public square would be located off Penn Street, on the former College Car Park site. The residents were also assured that planned new residential homes will be on a parcel of land that which were presently empty.

One lady requested for the council plans to bring people from diverse backgrounds together. She said the council needed to build a cultural centre where people from different backgrounds could meet and learn from each other’s backgrounds. The official commended her and gave a comment form to fill out and return to the council representatives present at the meeting.

The people discussed how affordable the planned new homes were likely to be among themselves. They wondered if the deposit for each of the 10,000 affordable housing units would not be up to £20,000. But the official could not confirm the amount.

A lady said the council needs to get rid of drug dealers and anti-social behaviours in the area before they deliver the construction. She said otherwise, the green spaces will attract thousands of kids would congregate and cause havoc.

Meanwhile, Collier said the government will not be funding all the constructions in the framework. He stated that housing associations and private investors will participate in the funding. On security threats, he noted that the council cannot afford not to do anything because of anti-social behaviours. He said the square’s design would have a lot of visibility, so that people can have a clear line of sight, and police experts would vet the architectural design for safety purposes before the construction begins. He added that the council had decided on CCTV, lighting, and management plan to look after the project.

Collier said the councillor has got money set aside, so things would happen if the people want it to. So, people should respond, if they want to see changes.”

The framework includes a public square, 36,000 new residential homes, and five pocket parks. Others are enhancement of the Moston Lane corridor, better pedestrian crossing, formal car parking, cycling, and sustainable drainage systems.