Extension of controversial active travel scheme set to be approved next week

Date published: 21 May 2024

The planned £9m upgrade of a major stretch of road between Castleton and Rochdale town centre is set to move forward next week.

The next phase of the active travel scheme will be considered by the council’s cabinet on May 28. The plan aims to regenerate street spaces, create segregated cycle lanes and upgrade major junctions on Manchester Road.

This would continue on from the cycle lanes recently installed within the centre of Castleton.

New crossings to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and new, optimised lights which will monitor traffic movements and speed up journey times are all included in the scheme. 

A total of seven junctions are in line for improvements, including Manchester Road and Bolton Road; Manchester Road and Roch Valley Way; and Manchester Road and Drake Street. A new crossing will be created across Manchester Road to enable safe and easy access to Highfield Hospital, with the existing subway set to be filled in.

A new cycle lane will be created to extend the existing cycle lane in Castleton from The Royal Toby Hotel into Rochdale town centre. To ensure that no parking bays or road space are lost, the lane will utilise large stretches of Old Manchester Road, which runs parallel to Manchester Road. 

To complement this part of the project, new greenery and benches will be introduced along Old Manchester Road, along with 20mph speed limits and road humps. The project has attracted £9.1m from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund and the council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the investment before it goes to Transport for Greater Manchester for final sign off. 

If it goes through, work on the scheme is expected to begin later this year, with the entire project due for completion in 2026. If the scheme is approved, detailed traffic management plans will be drawn up to ensure that disruption, while inevitable, will be kept to an absolute minimum.


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


Councillor Shah Wazir, cabinet member for highways at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This huge package of investment will transform this well-used stretch of road, which connects Rochdale town centre to its surrounding areas and ultimately the North West motorway network.

“These proposals will bring a huge number of improvements which will benefit every type of road user. The junction upgrades will improve safety for both cyclists and pedestrians, while the intelligent signals will help to improve journey times for motorists. In addition, the new cycle lane will support people who are keen to try sustainable travel options, while not compromising any existing parking or road space.”

A decision on the next phase of the scheme was due to be made back in March, however, councillors wanted to put it out to further consultation before they made up their minds.

Despite the additional promises of more greenery, improved footpaths and signage, road resurfacing and benches – the majority of people still opposed 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.

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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