Council facing £12m funding shortfall for controversial Carrington relief road

Trafford council is still looking for cash to complete its controversial plans for a relief road in Carrington.

The road has garnered opposition from hundreds of local residents since it is set to cut across the much-loved Carrington Moss reserve. The area is home to endangered birds, mammals, amphibians and carbon capturing peat bogs.

In the latest update given to Trafford council’s scrutiny committee, officers stated that the Carrington Relief Road plans are set to be submitted for planning approval in Summer 2023. But, there is a ‘funding shortfall’ the authority is still grappling with for the scheme.

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The report to scrutiny said: “The local highway network within the Carrington area and specifically the A6144 Manchester Road is operating well above capacity and is subject to severe congestion and significant queuing of traffic at peak times.

“The proposed new road will address this capacity issue and open up large areas of land for development in accordance with council’s aspirations for the Carrington. The council has pursued a range of external funding opportunities to support the project to date and is continuing to explore further funding sources.”

Route F was voted as the council’s preferred route for the relief road

So far the council has raised £17.3m towards the road from various sources, including central government contributions. Similar relief roads, like the 10km A6/Airport Relief Road completed in 2018, cost an estimated £290m.

Back in October 2020, the estimated cost of the Carrington Relief Road was set at around £30m. That means, not considering any inflation that has occurred since then, the council would still need to find at least £12.7m to plug the gap – nearly half of the estimated cost.

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The report said: “It should be noted that major Transport Infrastructure works invariably have a significant cost attached to their development and construction. These schemes illustrate that there are significant cost challenges with all forms of transport improvements.

“Once a planning application for the road has been prepared, a formal decision of the council will be necessary before the project progresses – planning consent should be granted. This decision needs to be underpinned by a full funding strategy, which is currently under development.”

The council expects to see more money coming in from private developers that have already gained approval for and others that are expected to apply to build new homes in and around Carrington.

Thousands of new homes have already been approved for the area as part of the New Carrington development and the area is proposed for approximately 4,300 homes in the plan period to 2037 and 5,000 homes overall, as well as approximately 350,000 square meters employment floorspace as part of the Greater Manchester Places for Everyone development scheme.

The authority is also making further applications to central government for more funding and has employed specialist surveyors to help it evaluate the most up-to-date costs for all parts of the project.

A revised timetable for the work associated with the relief road, subject to planning approval, has now been set out.

It states that a formal public consultation on the finer details of the proposals (since the preferred route of the road was approved by the council’s executive in September 2021) is expected to run throughout autumn and winter 2022.

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The planning application for the road is due to be submitted between spring and summer 2023 with a decision on that application expected by winter 2023.

Subject to planning approval, work on constructing the road is set to begin across autumn and winter 2024, with work due to be completed by Spring 2027.

It is understood the council will be fine tuning the details of the preferred route of the road, including conducting traffic counts, ecological surveys and a formal public consultation, before the planning application is submitted next year.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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