An outline business case for a £35m package of projects on the key South Manchester route is being prepared for submission to the Department for Transport in March.
The A34 corridor, which runs through the borough from its boundary with commuter-heavy Cheshire East through Heald Green and splitting Cheadle and Gatley up to the M60 junction and Manchester boundary, was identified as a priority in both Stockport’s Local Implementation Plan and the draft South East Manchester-wide multi-modal transport strategy known as SEMMMS.
The proposed programme of improvements then was included in Transport for the North’s priority list for Major Road Network schemes in 2019.
After Stockport Council presented a strategic outline business case, funding was secured from the Government in early 2020 to develop schemes that would tackle the issues on a route that suffers severe congestion and does not presently support active travel options between different local centres.
Twelve schemes have been proposed, including:
- A controlled crossing on the A560 Gatley Road, along with a new cycle link between the A34 and Broadway
- A cyclist and pedestrian-friendly junction at Wilmslow Road/Broadway
- Provision of cycling lanes on both sides of the A34 between the Kingsway School subway and Cheadle Royal roundabout, where there would also be cyclist/pedestrian-friendly amendments to the junctions
- Eden Park cycle route linking Stanley Road to Bruntwood Park
- Improvements to junctions including Stanley Road, in anticipation of development at Handforth Garden Village.
Following the initial funding, feasibility studies were carried out into certain projects, and a public consultation was held throughout October and November last year, with the council reporting that improvements around Kingsway School and the Eden Park route were particularly well received.
Project funding has climbed from £31m to an estimated £35m-£37m, but a report from Stockport Council noted that around 15% of funding is to come from Handforth Garden Village, on the Cheshire East side of the border, and other developer contributions from projects such as the Seashell Trust school development and associated housing.
If the outline business case is confirmed as successful by the DfT – a verdict is expected in April or May – a final business case will be submitted in early 2022 once approvals, consents and contractor costs have been collated.
Stockport Council’s economy and regeneration scrutiny committee, which meets on 28 January, is requested to note the progress made and approve the submission of the business case to the DfT.