Levenshulme Community Association and Levenshulme Traders Association have jointly called for the current Active Neighbourhood consultation to be extended. There are multiple problems with the way the consultation is being run. We believe these problems must be corrected and then the consultation should be extended to allow proper community engagement.
The letter and concerns are reproduced below and have been sent on 11 January 2022 to: Levenshulme councillors (Zahid Hussain, Dzidra Noor and Basat Sheikh); Burnage councillors (Azra Ali, Ben Clay and Bev Craig who is also Manchester City Council Leader); Manchester City Council Executive member Tracey Rawlins; Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester Mayor); and local MPs Afzal Khan and Jeff Smith. Copied to the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood Project Team.
Letter regarding the Levenshulme & Burnage Active Neighbourhood Consultation Consultation
Dear Elected Representatives,
We are extremely concerned about the latest (and referred to as final) consultation for the Levenshulme & Burnage Active Neighbourhood funded primarily via the GM Mayor’s Challenge Fund coordinated through Transport for Greater Manchester. We believe the process is flawed and confusing and the consultation period should be extended. The reasons for this are outlined below.
- Please could you let us know as a matter of urgency whether you agree with our concerns and if so what will be done to correct these flaws and extend the consultation period.
- Please also let us know if you think the issues outlined are not sufficient to merit extending the consultation and if so, why.
We propose a reset of the consultation period so that it can be run for a full six week period once the problems outlined below have been rectified. As a minimum there needs to be consistent and clear information available publicly and in hard copy for reference and all households must have been notified by letter about the consultation. Currently the consultation is inadequate, confusing, unfair, exclusive and invalid due to the multiple problems identified below.
Many of these problems have been raised both recently and previously during this project by residents, businesses and community groups but it is disappointing that they have not been addressed and the current consultation is so flawed.
We have always positively engaged with the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood Project throughout the last three years including promoting activities, sharing information and encouraging participation. We continue to be supportive of investment in our community and the development of improvements to make our roads safer, less polluted, and to promote active travel.
John Commons (Chair, Levenshulme Community Association)
Jeremy Hoad (Secretary, Levenshulme Community Association)
Lawrence Hennigan (Levenshulme Traders Association)
Problems with the Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood consultation
(Consultation period 17 December 2021 – 24 January 2022)
A Public Engagement & Notification
- No plans have been provided in hard copy in any public location for people to view.
- No posters have been distributed or placed in public locations informing people of the consultation.
- No letters have been provided in public locations for people to collect.
- Many people in the area have still not received letters notifying them of the consultation 26 days into a 39 day consultation (67% complete).
- Letters seem to have only been sent out after the consultation started rather than before meaning the full consultation period was not available to many people.
- The map included with the notification letters does not include all proposals.
- No public in person engagement meetings are being held.
- In person public engagement meetings promised in September (for October/November) never happened.
- In person public engagement meetings promised in October (for November/December) never happened.
- The one previous online consultation event with businesses in 2020 was cancelled. Businesses have never been directly consulted.
- Only two one-hour online events are proposed which is completely inadequate. No information has been provided on the format of these events. Two one-hour online events for a large area with over 20,000 residents and hundreds of businesses is unacceptable. Many people will be put off even bothering to register for these events which leaves people with no way of asking direct questions of any of the project team regarding any of the multiple proposals.
- A number of road names on the plans and information released are wrong which does not inspire confidence.
- Some proposals at different locations appear to be incomplete (eg Matthews Lane / Mount Road junction.) How can people reasonably comment on proposals referenced as “Final Plans” when those plans are incomplete or inaccurate?
B Proposals (contradictory & incomplete information)
- The list of locations on the online feedback survey is different to the information provided on the MCC website.
- The list of locations on the MCC website does not match with the list of PDF plans provided.
- The list of proposals on the map included with the notification letters does not include all proposals and does not match the information provided elsewhere.
- Grangethorpe Drive has a summary list of proposals but no plan.
- Randolph Street / Balleratt Street has a plan but no summary list of proposals.
C Proposals (trial blocks / filters excluded)
- 13 of the 14 road blocks / modal filters trialled in Levenshulme have been left out of the consultation. These proposals are part of the same scheme and must be included in the consultation. It is unacceptable to exclude these measures from this consultation especially when no results from the trial have ever been released.
- The only blocks / filters included in the consultation are:
- Manor Road that has been moved slightly
- Linden Park and Milwain Road that are new proposals
- Henderson Street has also been moved but is not included in the consultation.
- Specific designs are only provided for the Manor Road, Linden Park and Milwain Road blocks / filters. People must be allowed to comment on proposals / designs for the other proposed blocks / filters.
D Online Feedback Survey
- The list of measures / locations on the survey does not match the list provided on the MCC website.
- The survey excludes almost all the proposed blocks / filters.
- The survey prevented anyone commenting on more than two of the locations listed and then blocked people from submitting further comments telling people they had already completed the survey.
- The survey was changed around 7 January 2022 to allow people to comment on locations one at a time. This invalidates the survey results. It appears people who had previously completed the survey are prevented from accessing it again to now provide additional comments. In fact none of those people would even be aware that MCC had deliberately changed the format of the survey after they had completed it.
- There is no facility to save a survey submission to return to later for completion. This is unacceptable when there are well over 100 interventions proposed at multiple locations.
E Evidence, Data, Reports and Analysis
- No evidence, data, reports or analysis have ever been published or released. This is despite the project claiming it would be “evidence led and data driven”. Examples include:
- Air quality data
- Traffic monitoring data
- Traffic modelling results
- Analysis of any of the previous feedback (online and by other methods)
- Reports or analysis of the Levenshulme road block / filter trial (undertaken at one, three and six months but never released)
- Equality Impact Assessment
- Results of the reset and extended public consultation for Burnage.
- Correspondence with or assurances based on communication with the emergency services regarding the impact of these proposals.
- How these proposals will intersect with and affect delivery drivers, care providers, taxi and private hire companies, buses, trains and the operation of businesses in the area.
- Dates, times, locations and results from any of the claimed 70 public engagement events held throughout the project.
- Levenshulme councillors had explicitly stated at a public meeting that all evidence and data would be published as part of the “final consultation”. Nothing has been released.
- How can people be expected to comment on these proposals when there is no supporting evidence or analysis to help them understand the justifications for the proposals?