The Monday evening’s meeting at Middleton Library of around twenty local residents, two RBC Highways Officials and three local Councillors was a fiery affair.
The meeting was a face-to-face discussion on proposals to place a Toucan crossing [for pedestrians & cyclists] close to Whitegates Road in Slattocks where it joins the A664 Rochdale Road.
Detailed drawings of the proposed crossing and new consolidated bus stop were presented at the meeting and a reasoned account of for them were given by Chris Woods for RBC Highways.
Funding for the whole project will be provided by Transport For Greater Manchester [TfGM]. The crossing aspect is part is GM’s cycle network project to encourage people to use non-car-based methods of transport for both leisure and work journeys.
The proposals are seen as flawed by local residents.
Residents had initially received notice by letter in June  and many have sent in written comments, mainly in opposition to the plans as they stand. They were also informed that there was no actual need for them to be consulted according to legislation.
Everyone agreed that safety should be high on the agenda and with the need to find ways to reduce car journeys. But residents directly affected continue to reject many aspects of the scheme.
During the course of discussions, residents suggested a couple of alternatives for the placement of the crossing but these seemed to be ignored by Mr Widdop.
Towards the end of the meeting he also said that the bus stop amalgamation was part of a general move to reduce and upgrade the numbers of stops. However, residents did not feel they had been given a reasoned and full explanation as to why this was happening.
Residents were also left feeling particularly disappointed that their local elected Councillors were not supporting them and saw the plan, overall, as a good thing. Both the RBC officials and local Councillors appeared blinkered to residents arguments nor did they seem to appreciate them.
Following much questioning and suggestions by residents, Mark Widdop said he would again write to them and also look at further written representations.
When pressed by one resident, he also agreed to directly reply to the points in her recent letter of 19 August 2018.
Replying to another question, Mark further stated that project funding would need to be used by March 2019 but that there may be some flexibility with this timescale.