Controversial £477m M60 link road ‘dead in the water’ after government funding blow
Controversial plans for a £477m road to link the A6 to the M60 appear ‘dead in the water’ after the government said it is too expensive.
Stockport Council had asked the Department for Transport (DfT) for £500,000 to produce a full business case for the link road, which would have been followed by a request for a further £500m to fund the road.
But the government department wrote back telling Stockport that they proposed a £100m limit – and advised the authority to ‘consider lower cost alternatives’.
Protesters had submitted a 7,000-signature petition against the plans, saying the road would destroy the Goyt and Poise Brook valleys, create pollution and cause traffic problems in Marple, High Lane and Offerton.
They have now welcomed news that they are unlikely to go ahead, revealed by a letter released under the Freedom of Information Act.
“Officials have to think carefully about when to add new projects to the pipeline, especially when they are as large as this”, the letter says.
“Given the scale of the scheme I recommend you consider lower cost alternatives.
“Our current consultation proposes a £100m limit for major road network schemes and the department expects most schemes that are funded will be under £50m.”
The road would have linked the M60 to the Manchester Airport Relief Road that is currently under construction, and is in a draft strategy document currently out to consultation, about transport plans for Stockport and Cheshire East over the next 20 years.
Graham Trickey, from campaigning group Goyt Valley SOS, said: “We are delighted the government isn’t going to waste any more money on this.
“But it is in the 20 year transport plan so it is a continuing concern. The DfT will have been aware what was going on in Stockport and it may have helped them make a clear decision.”
The group says money should be invested in public transport such as Metrolink, instead of building more roads.
But the outline business case states that the £477m spent will be ‘very good value for money’, as over 60 years the time saved by drivers would benefit the economy to four times this figure.
Councillor Sheila Bailey, executive member for communities, said: “It appears from what the DfT say the road is dead in the water.
“I am personally pleased about that as all evidence suggests building roads does not solve the problem. It is looking for an instant solution to a long-term problem.”