The city council insists the controversial £9.1m project to upgrade the Manchester road has been a good use of money despite ongoing criticism from residents.
As work to improve Great Ancoats Street nears completion, residents have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the scheme, which was billed by Manchester City Council as a “European-style boulevard”.
Numerous commentators have described the project, being delivered by lead contractor Colas, as a “disaster”.
Just checking the progress on the European Style, tree lined boulevard for #GreatAncoatsStreet. Doesn't look very European nor doesn't look like there are any trees. What a failure from @McrLabour @ManCityCouncil. pic.twitter.com/i0abRAOO64
— William Connolly (@William251201) December 15, 2020
Plans for the revamp were approved by the council last year despite concerns from residents that the proposals, which included new crossing facilities, more than 70 trees, wider pavements, redesigned, clearer signage, and parallel cycle lanes, were not fit for purpose.
When asked by Place North West if the council thought the project had been a good use of money, a spokesperson said that it had.
“The aim of the scheme is to improve the physical environment of Great Ancoats Street, one of the main arterial routes around the city and part of the Manchester Inner Relief route, whose purpose is to keep traffic moving around the city instead of travelling through the city centre,” the spokesperson said.
— NorthernQuarterForum (@NQForum) December 21, 2020
However, dissenting voices from those who say that project has been a waste of money are growing louder with images posted on Twitter showing what critics perceive to be poor-quality work.
One commentator said the road had “all the charm of Stalinist era Russian Boulevard” while another remarked “I’m genuinely impressed as to how they made Great Ancoats Street worse…that takes some serious skill”.
Great Ancoats 2020, a lobby group set up by residents to scrutinise the project, said the council ignored concerns put forward by the public and “pressed on” with the project, refusing to accept any criticism of the plans.
However, the council spokesperson told Place North West: “A public consultation for this scheme was carried out and included local residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Each person that provided feedback to the consultation was individually contacted with bespoke responses.”
Critics have also raised concerns over a lack the trees that formed part of the proposals but the council said work has not yet finished and that 63 trees would be planted on Great Ancoats Street as part of the upgrade, as well as seven on Old Mill Street.
The spokesperson said: “The scheme has been designed to deliver enhanced crossings for people travelling on foot or by bike, to allow them to cross the major road more safely and travel more easily between the city centre and the flourishing Ancoats area.
“The project will provide a safer, more accessible link between the city centre and Ancoats and the physical environment of the road will be improved.”