The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed Trafford Council’s decision to increase the consultation period for two major village projects that would see significant changes in both Hale and Sale Moor, particularly around car parking provision.
The public consultation period in the ‘place plans’ for both villages should have concluded on February 11, but has been extended by four weeks to March 10 to give both communities more time to consider the plans.
Both plans contain a number of proposals that could radically change each village and affect businesses and local residents there. In Hale, traders are calling for more parking provision, and have objected to plans to further roll out a residents parking scheme which will reduce on street car parking massively for workers.
While in Sale Moor, a decision to roll out a cycle lane through the middle of the village would cull virtually all current on street car parking spaces, which retailers say are vital for passing trade. There’s also plans to develop Warrener Street car park, which would also significantly deplete the number of available car parking spaces.
Anne Lambelin (pictured), the FSB’s Area Leader in Greater Manchester, said: “Early in the consultation process for both schemes, FSB suggested more time be given for businesses to respond, so it’s good to see this has now happened. But while we welcome extra time, we urge the council to listen carefully to the views of the local community and if need be, go back to the drawing board.
“There are a lot of businesses in both towns rightly concerned that the proposals being tabled will affect trade and the future viability of both villages. Many businesses feel their livelihoods are at stake, so whatever decisions are made after the local elections, it can’t simply be a rubberstamping exercise where valid concerns are ignored, as was the case with Brown Street car park development in Hale.
“In Sale Moor, businesses are frantic as the plans there sees most of the on-street car parking ripped out to make way for a cycle lane. This is something that needs to be addressed – local town centres need readily accessible, convenient parking options to survive. Removing and reducing parking provision, whatever the scenario, would harm any town centre. While we agree that there needs to be more of a focus on sustainable transport schemes, we need to ‘go green’ sensibly and not at the expense of local businesses.”
She continued: “Both schemes need looking at again with fresh eyes. Any decision won’t now be made until after the local elections, which has sounded alarm bells with some traders, but it certainly gives the council’s planners time to reassess their current plans and for senior council officers to meet with local stakeholders to hear their concerns.”