The Labour administration in Stockport has agreed that Councillors from across the borough should have a say in whether or not proposals for the A6-M60 link road will go forward to the commissioning of a full, detailed business case.
At the Cabinet meeting of 14th November, at which a very full discussion on the issue took place, the Cabinet agreed the whole Council should have their say in debate, and a vote on whether to go ahead to the next stage in gathering further evidence on the case for the road.
The scheme has so far only seen an initial business case commissioned, which gathered some evidence on whether the route through the Goyt valley would be viable. Although this found the road would provide economic benefits and reduce congestion in some areas, further evidence in the form of a full, detailed business case would be needed before any bid for funding for the scheme could be put to Government.
The meeting featured questions from members of the public opposed to the scheme. However, there are online petitions ongoing on both sides of the debate, with many residents concerned over congestion and pollution levels areas to the south and east of the Borough.
The anticipated cost for commissioning a detailed business case is around £500,000. If the Council votes to approve these plans, this funding will be sought from the Government’s Department for Transport.
Leader of Stockport Council, Councillor Alex Ganotis said:
“We have taken the decision to allow the whole Council to have their say, because whether this road is built or not built is a decision which affects Councillors across the borough, with diverse views among themselves and those they represent.
“Although this will not be that final decision, it is important decisions in relation to it can command the broad support of Councillors.
“And, if this does go forward to a full business case, we will be clear that this should be accompanied by detailed environmental impact studies involving local environmental stakeholders, and comprehensive public consultation over and above legal requirements.
“This is so quality evidence is available not only for councillors, but those for and against this scheme.
“We want to make plain to the public we are approaching this issue with the full weight of seriousness, democratic accountability and evidence it deserves.”
Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, Cllr Kate Butler added:
“This decision will allow the fullest scrutiny of our preferred approach, which is to gather the evidence so all sides can make their case.
“We know there is a diversity of opinion on this matter, which will be reflected by Councillors from across the borough, as it is within the Labour group.
“It is crucial we get our approach to this right – which is why it is right that all of Stockport’s Councillors will now be able to scrutinise and have a stake in how we take this forward.
“As a minority administration, it is only right and fair that Councillors from across the borough, particularly those whose wards are most affected, are allowed a formal vote and say on this issue.”