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Answers to Questions: A56, Gigg Lane and Reducing Smoking

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:

  1. Redesigning services: combining smoking cessation services with the Bury Lifestyle Service, to ensure services are accessible and holistic.
  2. Continued delivery of the Baby Clear programme which pro- actively supports pregnant women who smoke, to quit.
  3. Continued engagement with primary care staff to ensure they provide very brief advice and signposting to appropriate services.
  4. Raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and the support services available, through promoting regional campaigns including TV and radio.
  5. Promoting smoke-free environments and events (for example: the Bury leg of the Cycle Tour of Britain is smoke- free, Sept 19)
  6. Enforcing tobacco regulation, ensuring compliance by traders to standards relating to point of sale bans, age restrictions on sales etc.
  7. Offering support to quit via existing services such as the Bury Lifestyle Service but also via new pathways (in hospitals and via telephone helplines and websites).
  8. Planned role out of the CURE programme in hospitals, which will ensure all those patients coming into hospital who smoke are automatically provided with stop smoking support.

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

7 Responses

  1. Christopher Nealon says:

    It doesn’t take a £20k budget to see how the A56 “improvements ” have effected the A665 ( Bury Old Rd). Heywood Rd, Heys Rd, Nursery Rd. At peak times they are now very very busy. Before the A56 “improvements ” I never queued on Bury Old Rd whilst travelling Southbound from Whitefield to Heaton Park. Yesterday I started queuing at Kirkhams, all the way to Heywood Rd. ( No accidents) just volume avoiding Prestwich Village. The queue up Heywood Rd from Manchester towards Polefield stretched down the hill and past Heys Rd. The extra 55 seconds is because the traffic is using other routes.

  2. Barbara Wilkinson says:

    I am truly amazed at the suggestion that only 55 seconds has been added to the journey time during rush hour. I regularly sit for many minutes at any time of the day trying to go either north or south between the motorway roundabout and Hilton Lane – unless I use the side roads, like many others judging by the amount of traffic. I believe the whole thing is a shambles.

  3. Michelle hewitson says:

    Well u obviously don’t drive down the A56 in rush hour. It’s far worse now with one lane in each direction than when there was 2 lanes

  4. Peter Cope says:

    The traffic flow through Prestwich village was unacceptably slow before the so called “improvements”
    It is now worse.

    Prestwich village is now in the red band of traffic flow status on Google Earth traffic flow monitoring for most of the working day on every weekday. It was never that bad before the “Improvements”.

    Any increase in journey times is bad and to say there is only 55 seconds longer northbound journey time in rush hour is being economical with the truth.
    Journey times are now longer throughout the working day on Bury New Road AND along Bury Old Road.

    • Anonymous says:

      The council can spend £500k on a restaurant that they plan to demolish on the pretext of development of the Longfield precinct. But don’t think it’s worth spending £20k in assessing the impact of the £2m scheme (nobody wanted) on an area-wide study of its impact on the side-roads and alternative routes in Prestwich.

      Surely as part of the original £2m scheme the extensive computer modelling should have been extended to include the impact of the side-roads and alternative routes journey times as well? However, this analysis was conveniently left out, simply for the council to avoid scrutiny that would prove what we all said at the time, the scheme would have an adverse effect on the side roads. Let’s reduce Angouleme Way to a single lane for one week and see what happens.

      Collectively that’s £2.5m spent on no improvement whatsoever.

  5. D.B.Willars says:

    The slight delay in outward journey times on the A56 is only maintained due to the excess amount of traffic using Heywood Rd and Bury Old Rd to avoid Prestwich village and the motorway roundabout bottlenecks.Heywood Rd is in poor condition and will not sustain this overload,when it fails and has to be closed for serious maintenance,traffic on the A56 will be at a virtual stop between 15.00hrs to19.00hrs fromm Monday to Friday.

  6. Peter Cope says:

    Speaking to a friend who has been a local taxi and private hire driver for over 20 years. I told him of the reply that only in the evening rush hour was there a 55 second increase in journey times.

    His response was “that’s ridiculous, It’s bad throughout most days. It is far worse now than it has ever been and surrounding roads carrying the overflow are far worse too”

    “Whoever said that wants to get out of his office and drive Prestwich roads regularly to see how bad they have become.”

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