by timpickstone on 24 September, 2019
At the last full meeting of Bury Council the team of Liberal Democrat councillors asked a number of formal written questions. Here are the answers to three of them:
Councillor Michael Powell asked about congestion on the A56 through Prestwich: Now that the A56 works in Prestwich are complete, could the Leader inform members what work, if any, is being undertaken to assess the long term impact of the scheme on other roads through Prestwich, or if a study to assess such any such impact is planned?
Answer: As part of the design of the Prestwich High Street scheme, extensive computer modelling was undertaken to understand the predicted traffic flows and the corresponding journey times between Hilton Lane and M60 Jnc 17. Recent monitoring has allowed an analysis of actual journey times to see how they compared against the predicted journey times. Other than the northbound evening peak (which is only around 55 seconds longer), there are no statistical significant changes to journey times.
Being a principal road and a gateway to the motorway network, traffic flows will always be significant on the A56 in Prestwich. As explained previously, an area-wide study to capture a multitude of side-roads and alternate routes, would cost between £10k and 20k. As there is no evidence that the scheme has had a detrimental impact on journey times, no budget has been allocated to this work.
Councillor Steve Wright asked about the Bury FC ground at Gigg Lane:
Could the Leader inform members what plans the Council has to protect the ground at Gigg Lane and retain it as a recreational space for the community, given its status as an Asset of Community Value and the recreational use covenant on the land?
Answer: The ground at Gigg Lane is a privately owned stadium and the Council’s role is as the planning authority to determine any proposal for planning permission coming forward. Any application would obviously have to be dealt with on its merits but the current policy position is that redevelopment for non-football use (such as housing, retail or office use) would have to consider the relocation and delivery of appropriate facilities to an alternative site within the Borough. Further, as the ground is currently designated as an asset of community value, this means that should it come up for sale, the community group that registered it with the Council can have up to six months to raise funds and bid for it. It will also be relevant in any planning application to emphasise the community use to which the asset has been put.
Councillor Tim Pickstone asked for an update on what the Council is doing to reduce smoking: Cancer Research UK has partnered with the Local Government Association to produce a ‘guide on tobacco control for elected members.
Answer: Given that smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer what are the Council and its partners doing to meet the ambition of a smoke free UK by 2035, where less than 5% of adults across all socioeconomic groups smoke?
In March 2019 Bury Health and Wellbeing Board approved our local Tobacco Control Plan for 2019-2022. The plan sets out our commitment to work with partners, to effectively impact tobacco use across the borough. The plan aims to contribute to reducing ill-health and early death in the population, and improve the lives of the next generation of Bury residents.
Reducing smoking prevalence in Bury is also a key action within our Locality Plan (2017-2021) and a stated ambition in our Primary Care Health and Wellbeing strategy.
Local actions being taken to drive smoking prevalence rates down include:
Smoking rates in Bury have fallen significantly in recent years – from 23.3% of adults in 2011 to 16.0% in 2018. This is a bigger reduction than most places in the North West, and the third highest drop over the period in Greater Manchester. The system approach we are taking, putting a high priority on education and on providing advice and support to smokers who want to quit looks to be making a significant impact.7 Comments