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Dodgy LibDems Toxic School



POLICE COMPLAIN ABOUT DANGEROUS TRAFFIC SITUATION AROUND THE SCHOOL WITHIN A FEW WEEKS OF IT OPENING.


28TH MAY 2012

Stockport Council Executive Meeting Question asked regarding the dangerous traffic situation around the toxic waste dump school in North Reddish.

29TH MAY 2012
I rang Stockport Council Democratic Services and asked Jonathan Valli, Committee Clerk, if my question was allowed or whether it was considered "vexatious".

He told me he checked the matter with Council Solicitor, Barry Khan, who said it was indeed a vexatious question.

Please have a look at the documents below and see whether you consider my raising this matter as
"vexatious".


Observations of someon impartial:-

I visited Harcourt St area and Fir Road area on Wednesday 13th August 2008 to observe the road layout and general appearances. The timing was between 13.30 and 14.30. The weather was fine and sunny. The schools were on holiday.

Observations
1) Harcourt St as such is a series of artificially blocked off sections and it is impossible to follow in one go the full length of the road. I saw one access point to the green area which is presumed to be the proposed school. It is a pleasant enough road with off road parking for some houses and with adjacent Sts running to Gorton Road being terraced houses with limited parking. I don't know what part if any Harcourt St will actually be used to access the school. If it is then the current layout will make for a very congested area with confused access points.

2) I suspect the main access to the school will be in the Longford Rd, Mill Lane and Windmill Lane one way system. All these streets were very busy even at the time I visited. The right turn from Mill Lane to Windmill Lane, which I did, is almost impossible and very dangerous because of limited visibility.

Longford St is a mainly terraced, one way street from Gorton Rd with limited residential parking. I can't imagine residents being too happy with a greater influx of traffic. Probably everything going to the school would come down either this street or Windmill Lane.

Windmill Lane is full of bends, narrow in parts, unsuitable for a lot more parking and I would imagine that School buses would find it tricky to negotiate. As I say the turn into Mill Lane and from Mill Lane into Windmill Lane is very dodgy.

Mill Lane is a dead end leading from Gorton Road into which it feeds as a one way st and as a two way narrow lane from its' junction with Longford St and Windmill Lane. Basically it is a country lane with some very nice housing developments providing quite a bit of traffic. At its' dead end it appears to be a walking access to open ground.

I am guessing this is where the proposed turning circle is to be put. Nothing is ever impossible and certainly walkers who visit would equally find it useful to park their cars in such an area. However at the least it would destroy that part of a very nice quiet, narrow country lane and at worst the narrow width of the lane would make it extremely difficult for buses to safely travel. Also if buses are using the turning circle how will the cars of parents turn round, the road is too narrow for that.

Of all the streets, to my mind Mill Lane presented the greater problems.
SHEILA I THINK ROADS ARE CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO THEIR WIDTH AND THIS WILL DETERMINE HOW AND BY WHAT THEY CAN BE USED!!!.
For instance Emergency vehicles (fire engines and ambulances) require a certain access width AND ESPECIALLY TO THE LARGEST SCHOOL IN STOCKPORT.

3 I took the opportunity to visit the Fir Road School. What a contrast. The road access is excellent. I know there is a reservoir behind but would this restrict its' expansion? It was much more pleasant to drive there than the difficult narrow and congested area around Harcourt St

4 Someone wrote in the Express that the toffs in Harcourt St were bullying the much poorer people around Fir Road. I am no expert in evaluating house prices. Whilst there are some very nice houses especially in Mill Lane the houses around Fir Road and Longford Rd West seemed actually better and in no way did it appear a poor area compared to the streets between Gorton Rd and Harcourt St.

Conclusion
I believe the evidence shows there is a traffic problem especially around Mill Lane. Fir Rd appears to have much better access with easier parking and bus access.

Recommendations
1 I think you should get a photograph/video record of the 2 areas.

2 You should obtain from Traffic Services the various width classifications of streets along with any recommendations of limits of traffic usage, parking etc.

Part of this should be any considerations that need to be made for Emergency Plans ( what happens if the school sets on fire)

3 Someone should measure the pavement widths, and road widths of Harcourt, Windmill, Longford Rd, Mill Lane, Longford Rd West and Browning Rd.

Hope this helps and please come back if something is not clear enough.



The school opened in September 2011.  By December 2011 a report from the police had been put before the Council expressing serious issues with the traffic around the school and concerns about safety at this location (please see below).

"What is the Council going to do about these concerns and will the Council be implementing the turning circle which was put before the planning committee as a solution to the traffic problems the Council was going to cause at the site"
, I asked.  "Don't be vexatious", they replied - Goddard, Boylan, Derbyshire, Webb, Khan, Weldon, Bodsworth, Roberts, Smith, Candler, Pantall et al.



A development contravenes planning regulations if it displaces traffic from the site on to the surrounding roads. Coaches will have to enter the site to take children on school trips or to the swimming baths. Each time cars will have to be displaced in the already crowded surrounding streets.



Sent:
Thu 8/2/2007 06:48
To: Cllr Mark Weldon
Subject: Fw: Irregularities at Stockport Council

Dear Councillor Weldon

I need to present a fuller case to the District Auditor, whom I greatly respect, and who is already looking into iffyness at Stockport Council regarding consultations. If this consultation had been done properly, we wouldn't now be facing these problems. The copy of the email below to her is just to give her an indication of the problems.

78% of the public who responded left the Harcourt Street consultation meeting with questions about traffic problems. The traffic reports, although in the Council's possession at the end of June 2006, were not presented to the public at those meetings in August and September. Now, without consultation and at the very last minute traffic changes costing tens of thousands of pounds are being introduced and Nick Whelan had no confidence at last Monday's Tame Valley meeting that any of this would work.

In addition, your flippant comments about the cost of all this are very, very worrying.

Sheila
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Proposed drop off area "inadequate" discovered only  three days before the planning meeting.

Only on 24th July 2007,  only a couple of days before the decision making planning meeting, did Nick Whelan, Head of Highways at Stockport Council, discover theat the drop off area within the school was not going to be adequate.  This is despite my having a meeting with him and a local resident the previous January to explain the traffic issues to him.


The Highways Officer, who again "didn't realise" about the traffic situation at the school. Why not when we had already pointed matters out to him the previous January in a meeting?



The traffic from most of the houses within the red lines has to exit via narrow Mill Lane, on which the school entrance is situated. Local people and I pointed out to the Council and planning officer Jim Seymour, and Nick Whelan in particular, the existence of all these houses forced to use that one narrow exit road.  Our comments were completely ignored.



This was the traffic situation before the school was built. The entrance for the 550 pupil primary school, Childrens' Centre, nursery and all other supposed functions on the site e.g., health visitor centre, is at this point on narrow Mill Lane, which is also part of the Trans Pennine Way cycle path.  Why on earth was this lethal traffic situation brought into being?  This site was never safe for this school, from the traffic point of view.



An ambulance stuck in traffic - even before the school was built.



This was the state of the traffic on Mill Lane before the toxic waste dump school was built.  "
You are ignoring all the traffic from the hundreds of houses at the bottom of Mill Lane", I said, as did other local residents. "Don't be vexatious", they replied - Goddard, Derbyshire, Weldon, Webb, Sager, Khan, Schulz, Pantall, Smith, Candler, Bodworth and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.



Parents WILL be
allowed to park in the turning area, should it ever be provided.



Parents WILL NOT  be
allowed to park in the turning area, should it ever be provided.



Parents will also be
NOT allowed to park in the turning area, should it ever be provided, meaning that children as young as five will need to walk alone up Mill Lane.  Does anyone at Stockport Council actually know what they are talking about or even care?  This involves the safety of very young children and no-one actually gives a carrot.  Every time I raise this matter I am publicly branded "vexatious".



I told the Council these traffic problems would arise. They branded me as
"vextious". They lied.

How did this school ever get through the planning process?  Were inducements paid to get it passed?



The Council intended to create in addition to the school, a nursery offering 78 places with wraparound care 8am to 6pm, additional childcare provision for 0 - 2 year olds, a childminder network and drop in facility with access to training and creche provison support, a parent'/carers' attendance at training/support sessions, a parents'/carers' support base offering parenting courses and Family Learning Support such as parent and child play sessions and Information sessions on childcare, jobs, benefits etc, midwiferly drop-in sessions, baby clinic/group, health visitor drop-in sessions and speech and language support for children.

Where, I ask you, would they all park?  The Council has created a very dangerous traffic situation.  They were warned and ignored all the genuine concerns of local people.



When I asked this question on 7th January 2012, the Council knew that many local residents and the police had complained or expressed concern about the traffic situation.

I wonder why they chose to brand this question vexatious? What on earth is going on in planning at Stockport Council, when valid children's safety issues are considered "vexatious"?

The documents (please see above) submitted at the planning application stage give a misleading picture of where the children are coming from.  Most of the streets mentioned are on the Fir Tree side of busy Gorton Road.

See above. Again at planning they claimed the development would not be detrimental to highway safety, yet the police complained about just this within weeks of the school opening.

These consultants produce utter twaddle and are paid huge sums of our money for it.

We paid £23,594.66 for the Transport Assessment done by Faber Maunsell. We were robbed, as the police complained about the dangerous traffic situation created within eeks of the school opening.

Jim Cunliffe requested the site access and car parking arrangements be reviewed. A dog's dinner was made of that nonetheless!


This is the Fir Tree site. There were no traffic problems there and no contamination. This site could have been used for the new school, but the Council wanted to flog it off instead.

Reply sent by FOI Officer on 24/08/2007

Dear Mrs Oliver,
Query regarding traffic reports
The Council believes that the traffic assessment is adequate for the purposes of deciding the application and it has demonstrated that there will not be gridlock. However, the existing situation involves queuing at peak times and the Executive Member will be asked to consider if there are ways of managing this better.
The turning area will be provided if necessary, to enable drivers that have entered Mill Lane to turn without having to manoeuvre within highway junctions or private driveways, which is in the better interests of highway safety and operation. It is not being provided as a parking area and Traffic Regulation Orders could be introduced to prohibit parking in the turning area should this become a problem.
Yours sincerely
XXXXX
Freedom of Information & Processing Officer


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