Road safety on Great Ancoats Street, Manchester – letter to Councillor Mick Loughman

Below is a letter I emailed to my local councillor, Mick Loughman, on 26 June 2013 (two weeks ago). As yet I’ve had no response.

I believe politics should be open, so I wrote this letter privately and hoped to receive a response before I published the correspondence and discussed it further

Dear Cllr Loughman,

I’m writing to raise my concerns with the dangerous state of Great Ancoats Street. Specifically the section including the junction with Newton St/Blossom St, all the way to and including the junction with Store Street.

As you may know, the last 18 months has seen several casualties and fatalities along this stretch including:

Despite the above, no action has been taken by the council, police or other relevant authorities to improve the safety of this road.

Since 2010, I have commuted from Ancoats to my workplace in Hulme. Usually this is by bicycle but also on foot. I’m also a car and occasional van driver along this stretch of road.

Just this morning, I noted traffic skipping red lights on Great Ancoats St eastbound at the Blossom St junction. The particular configuration of traffic lights in close proximity to the following pedestrian crossing means this is a very common occurrence. As this is one of my own key cycle routes, I’m sharply aware of the dangers I face.

Turning right from Store Street travelling eastbound into Great Ancoats is also dangerous because of the road markings on westbound Store Street. I’ve been involved in at least one near-miss.

I’ve raised the latter junction with the council (CRM-170-2030). Disappointingly, I received a form response stating:

“All highway-related funding will be directed towards maintenance of the network. Due to this we are unable to consider new requests for highway improvement schemes unless an alternative source of funding has been identified.

“Unfortunately, due to limited resources we are unable to investigate this issue further. If the issue relates to an accident we can advise that accident data is reviewed by both the Council and the Police to determine whether additional safety measures are required – this is reviewed on a regular basis.”

How many more people need to be hurt or be killed before action will be taken?

Ancoats is an area that seeks to grow and will come into global focus during next week’s Manchester International Festival, when it hosts Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh. The state of Great Ancoats Street was raised specifically in the late 2012 proposal to ‘Animate Ancoats‘ written with the Council yet nothing has been done. I really hope that nothing happens to the mass of visitors who are expected to travel to the area.

There have been some fantastic improvements to traffic flows on Great Ancoats Street around the new NoMa area. I hope that there are plans to do the same on the stretch I’m referring to, especially given the plans for the Central Retail Park. However, I would urge you and other councillors to take action urgently – before then – to prevent more hurt and more deaths on this stretch of road.

Thank you for your time in considering this message. I’d be very happy to discuss any of these issues further or perhaps meet at the site to talk them through. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,