Residents concern they might lose their ‘final unspoilt inexperienced house’ after revamped plans for a brand new biking and stroll path had been unveiled.
They are saying proposals for paved routes throughout Heaton Mersey Widespread would alter the ‘pure’ really feel of the realm – and still have issues over lighting, security and anti-social behaviour.
It comes after Stockport council launched a contemporary public session on an ‘improve’ to the Heatons Cycle Hyperlink – supposed to create a collection of quiet routes between the Fallowfield Loop and the Transpennine Path at Heaton Mersey.
Folks had beforehand been requested for his or her views on a ‘bundle of measures’ again in 2019, together with the surfacing and lighting of paths on the frequent and close to Priestnall Faculty.
Now the city corridor is inviting the general public to have its say on up to date plans – and are proposing ‘a further, east-west route throughout Heaton Mersey Widespread’.
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The proposed routes would join Kingsleigh Highway, New Beech Highway, Priestnall Highway and Burnage Lane – and adjoining roads – with exhausting surfacing, heritage lighting and seating.
However many within the space don’t really feel they’ve been correctly consulted on both event forward of proposals being labored up.
Diane Connell lives subsequent to the frequent and is a bike owner and walker herself.
Whereas a supporter of bettering strolling and biking infrastructure on the whole, she doesn’t agree he proposals for Heaton Mersey Widespread are ‘applicable’.
“It’s a devoted nature reserve and a inexperienced open house,” stated Diane, who additionally has issues over the influence on Priestnall Hey.
The city corridor says there was ‘robust help’ for the scheme after the primary session – however Diane says residents had been ‘appalled’ when proposals for a route by means of the frequent got here to mild.
(Picture: Diane Connell.)
And she or he is much more perturbed by the ‘enlarged’ plan now being consulted on, significantly because it additionally consists of Priestnall Hey – ‘a inexperienced house hall particularly well-liked with canine walkers’.
Whereas she agrees with upgrading footpaths to make the realm extra accessible for everybody, she believes making a shared path for cyclists, walkers and different customers can be ‘a catastrophe for all involved’.
“We imagine it will completely destroy the entire really feel of the character reserve and the Priestnall Hey web site. They’re each vacation spot websites, not corridors for individuals passing by means of,” she stated.
“This final yr has confirmed the worth of open areas to individuals’s wellbeing. The frequent has been a vacation spot for individuals to go to and revel in a small oasis of nature.
“It shouldn’t be allowed to vanish and be urbanised.”
One other resident and campaigner – who requested to not be named – echoed Diane’s feedback, describing the frequent as ‘the final unspoilt inexperienced house in Heaton Mersey’.
“Folks’s opinions are ‘it’s a woodland, let or not it’s a woodland’ – like Styal Forest or Fletcher Moss in Didsbury.
“They’re precisely that – untouched, muddy and pure – they’re liked for what they’re. That’s what individuals go there for.”
She stated the frequent was identified for its wealthy wildlife, together with parakeets, woodpeckers and herons.
“It’s actually pretty and other people love going there as a result of it’s unspoilt.”
However she has critical issues over the session, which she says options ‘substantial modifications’, and doesn’t clarify how it’s linked to the unique one.
And she or he provides that the ‘greater image’ has not been spelt out to residents.
Specifically, that the routes are a part of the Mayor’s Biking and Strolling Problem Fund – 18,000 miles of proposed routes that make up the most important joined-up system within the nation.
(Picture: Diane Connell)
“It’s not simply attempting to enhance Heaton Mersey Widespread,” she stated.
“The cycle hyperlink goes to be a part of individuals making longer journeys. They will encourage individuals to undergo the frequent and on to the Transpennine hyperlink down the Mersey.
“It’s not clear that it’s a part of an even bigger image. The way in which it reads is they’re attempting to enhance paths on the frequent – however it’s the Heaton Cycle hyperlink that’s driving them to enhance paths in Heaton Mersey Widespread.”
She provides that additional issues embrace the influence on residents from the brand new lighting, the proposed removing of some mature bushes and the proximity of the trail to St John’s Main Faculty.
(Picture: Diane Connell.)
And she or he says that residents are additionally ‘shocked’ by the dearth of engagement and communication from the council.
“There are fairly substantial modifications to the plan,” she stated.
“It’s exhausting to decipher if it’s a brand new session or a very totally different session that’s in some way linked with the primary.”
The absence of an ecological survey within the session can also be a supply of frustration.
“As residents how can we give knowledgeable suggestions with out all the information,” she stated.
“Everyone seems to be shocked by how little engagement and session there was. What we’re asking for – predominantly – is a pause in all this, to get all the knowledge absorbed and perceive the rationale for going into the frequent.”
Nevertheless, she believes there’s house for a compromise.
One suggestion is to direct cyclists from the facet of Priestnall faculty and on to Mersey Highway – a large, quiet street with visitors calming measures already in place. This, residents imagine would shield the pure space and keep away from the event of an costly route slicing by means of the woods.
Residents are additionally not completely towards bettering the paths for walkers – offered it’s finished in as sensitively as potential – however not as a shared route with cyclists.
“We’re completely not saying ‘no’ however want we had been in dialog earlier on. We want to get someplace we’re all proud of, or at the least someplace within the center,” stated the resident, who can also be a eager bike owner herself.”
Stockport council has responded to residents issues.
A spokesperson stated: “There may be at the moment a session going down that features proposals to improve a present path in Heaton Mersey Widespread.
“Responses to this session shall be thought-about as a part of the scheme growth course of previous to any work going down.
“We welcome all responses and can think about any representations made.
“Residents can have their say on the proposals by visiting our session pages on our web site. The session ends on March 26, 2021.