Legal challenge to A57 scheme leaves roads bosses ‘disappointed’

TRANSPORT chiefs have hit out at a legal challenge that will see a much-debated major road project that would affect travellers in Tameside delayed.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has gone to its lawyers over the A57 Link Roads Mottram Bypass scheme, which is designed the solve issues that have plagued Mottram Moor.

Particularly, it is questioning the granting of a Development Consent Order (DCO) by Transport Secretary Huw Merriman and how it reached two parts of data that allowed it to be granted.

All that means it will be at least several months before work, which was meant to start in the spring, will now get under way.

And National Highways did not hide its feelings.

A57 Mottram Bypass drone footage Tameside
Drone footage of congestion through Mottram on the A57

In a statement, it said: “We’re aware that a legal challenge has been made against the Secretary of State’s decision to grant for the A57 Link Roads scheme.

“The challenge focuses on two main areas.

“Firstly on the way cumulative carbon assessments were carried out, along with local plans. And secondly on how the assessment of alternatives and their impact on the green belt have been considered.

“Following the DCO announcement in November, we had planned to start construction on the scheme in spring. However, in light of the legal challenge this will not be possible.

“At this stage it is too early to say how much of an impact the legal challenge will have on our programme, but we anticipate that it could be several months before there is more clarity.

“We’re disappointed about the legal challenge.

“We believe our proposals will provide much-needed relief for drivers and businesses that use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering an economic boost to the Greater Manchester and Sheffield city regions.”

The project would see a dual carriageway run from the end of the M67 and through a new underpass to the north of Mottram to the A57 east of the junction at Black Moor.

Another single carriageway road would also link the A57 from Mottram Moor to Woolley Bridge, taking traffic away from the current route along Woolley Lane.

A57 Mottram bypass mapAccording to the Government’s decision, two new junctions, Mottram Moor Junction and Woolley Bridge Junction, will be created along with improvement works on the existing M67 junction four.

Five new structures – Old Farm Underpass, Roe Cross Road Overbridge, Mottram Underpass, Carrhouse Lane Underpass and River Etherow Bridge – will also be created.

Safety measures and improvements to the A57 from Mottram Moor Junction to Woolley Lane Junction will be put in place.

According to Government documents, ‘this would address long-standing issues of connectivity, congestion, reliability and safety between the M67 at Mottram and M1 Junction 36 and Junction 35A north of Sheffield.’

It would also, ‘provide additional capacity within Mottram and Hollingworth and improve journey time reliability which would assist in facilitating regeneration, development and economic growth both locally and regionally.’

CPRE chief executive Tomo Thompson said the charity wanted to protect the countryside in the Peak District, commenting: “We have legal advice to support our opinion the minister failed to give due consideration and due diligence to two aspects of the findings which led to his decision to grant approval.

“We believe he has failed in his statutory duty to consider the environmental impact of the new roads, including the impact of the thousands of tonnes of carbon that this scheme would emit.”

He added Mr Merriman had failed to properly consider reasonable alternatives to the new road and there was no evidence that building a new road “moves away a traffic problem”.

Despite the legal challenge by CPRE, a number of recommendations made by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) are thought to have been incorporated into the current scheme.

And in the government’s decision to grant the DCO, it states: “Although Secretary of State notes the doubts expressed by CPRE, he is satisfied there is no substantive evidence that the proposed measures would be ineffective, particularly because there would be limited incentive for drivers to use Woolley Lane to avoid the Mottram Moor Junction.”

5 Replies to “Legal challenge to A57 scheme leaves roads bosses ‘disappointed’”

  1. May suggest the people who don’t agree to a bypass ,visit the site and spend time in the traffic trying to get to work

  2. The elephant in the room is that all the small section of road will do is move the jam from one side of Motram to the other. Before the M67 Hyde was the roadblock, now it’s Motram where that road ends.

    Until the highways agency either closes Woodhead to all non-emergency vehicles over the size of a van (like Snake pass now is) OR builds the bypass such that the road also by-passes Tintwistle with the road widened beyond that so their is an uphill crawler lane as well, such a road will have achieved next to nothing at great expense.

    Of the two options the former is much cheaper and sticks all the truck where they should be in the first place ….on the M62.

  3. I think all this hold up of a much needed road is a disgrace.have these tree hugging snowflakes even thought about the fact the uk is now in recession?this new road will bring many construction jobs.at a time when construction workers,as i am,are finding it increasingly hard to find any employment in the last six months.i do understand about pollution and its effects etc but,in a few short years time,no new cars will be sold with fossil fuel engines.the air is cleaning up by the month now in the north west.plus most cars now on our roads are either euro five or six very clean burning engines.i travel a lot to and from mottram moor and this new road is badly needed.

  4. At a practical level Stephen hit the nail on the head, in that the scheme may relief Mottram village traffic lights (crossroads) but not Longdendale itself. It will be safer for me to cross Mottram village to get to the train stations at Broadbottom or Stalybridge and quieter to sit in the village next to the statue of Lowry, but then that is only if I remain in the village after mine and 40 other homes are torn down to make way for this displacement of a traffic jam by less than a mile.

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