The £9m cycle scheme set to be approved… but locals aren’t keen

Date published: 18 March 2024

A £9m cycle and walking scheme between Rochdale and Castleton is set to be given the go ahead despite consultation showing residents aren’t convinced.

The Castleton to Rochdale Active Travel Route forms part of the phase 2 of the Bee Network plan for Greater Manchester and would continue the work that has already started in Castleton. Rochdale Council’s cabinet will meet on 19 March where they have been recommended by officers to approve the £9,143,800 from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund for the plan.

This phase of the plan aims to regenerate street spaces, create segregated cycle lanes and upgrade major junctions on Manchester Road between Bolton Road and Drake Street.

The idea behind this is to create safer ways for pedestrians and cyclists to get to busier parts of the borough which coincide with the Bee Network infrastructure coming in. It is hoped this would reduce the need for short trips in cars, council papers suggest.

Phase 1, which concluded last month, introduced ‘high quality walking and cycling routes’ to Castleton, a planning report stated. The next phase will add to the work already completed in the previous phase and aims to upgrade existing road safety and capacity related issues as well as enhancing walking and cycling crossing opportunities.

Despite the additional promises of more greenery, improved footpaths and signage, road resurfacing and benches – there were still a majority of people opposing the plans via the consultation.

Referencing this, planning papers said: “Those responding online were particularly likely to ‘oppose’ each proposal, whilst opinion was more evenly split amongst those completing a postal survey.

“The fact that some of those submitting a postal survey will have attended an event and hence received a more detailed insight into the proposals/junction upgrades could also help to explain the significant differences between the two modes of response.”

In total 423 surveys are included in the survey analysis, 28 per cent of surveys were completed online with 72 per cent of responses were received via postal surveys.


Castleton to Rochdale Travel Map plan
Castleton to Rochdale Travel Map plan


Junctions with Manchester Road where improvements are planned: 

  • Bolton Road
  • Montgomery Street crossing (Tesco/Sudden)
  • Roch Valley Way
  • New Barn Lane
  • Kemp Avenue
  • Tweedale Street
  • Drake Street

A cabinet report read: “The Castleton to Rochdale Active Travel Route – Bee Network Phase 2 scheme was selected due to the lack of cycling infrastructure on a section of highway with local strategic importance. In addition to this only the basic needs of pedestrians are met and there are also existing road safety concerns in the area in regards to motor traffic. 

“The general street scene is unattractive and the highway layout has been without any significant investment for a considerable amount of time whilst being dominated by motor traffic. All of these issues combined act as a barrier towards active forms of travel.

“Active Travel schemes are an excellent way to improve these types of issues, safer sustainable transport routes will be introduced that will include high specification material upgrades. Improved public realm helps create places where local people want to be in and spend time, rather than areas of highway being used simply as transport corridors.”

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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