Seven new walking and cycling schemes will be coming to Oldham at a cost of £19.8 million, in a bid to encourage local people to be more active.
It's part of the 1,800 Bee Network proposal, which will create 2.5 million daily active trips and £6 billion in benefits across Greater Manchester.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner are calling on the Government to back ground-breaking plans for the UK's largest walking and cycling network, cutting congestion and air pollution across the city-region and helping people make 2.5 million journeys every day on foot or by bike.
Andy Burnham and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman have announced the publication of a new report, titled ‘Change a Region to Change a Nation’, which will be delivered to Westminster next month to make the case for the government backing needed to deliver the wide-ranging plans.
The foundation of the plan is the Bee Network, which will provide 1,800 miles of protected space for cycling and walking and has seen over 80 further schemes approved for development.
The schemes for Oldham include a range of additional infrastructure and improvements across the region, encouraging shorter journeys to be taken by foot or by bike in areas such as Chadderton and the town centre.
The plans will also open up continuous routes from Oldham, across the boundary into Ashton-under-Lyne, as well as Chadderton and Middleton and additionally in Royton.
The report, jointly commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Mayor, details the impact that Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking network is projected to have over the next 10 years, including:
- A 350% increase in daily cycling trips, from 100,000 to 450,000
- An increase in daily walking trips by a third, from 1,480,000 to 2,050,000
It is also projected that the change in travel culture will bring huge benefits to the city-region in several key areas, including:
- Air quality: Up to 130,000 fewer daily private car and taxi trips (735,000 less vehicle kilometres driven)
- Congestion: Reduce traffic by as much as 10% and improve some journey times by up to 50%
- Health: A £6.73 billion boost by improving the city-region’s health and reducing the cost to the NHS
So far, in total Oldham has nine schemes in development, which will be delivered as part of the Bee Network over the next 10 years. Two of these schemes are due to start work this Spring, enabling people to access the town centre more easily from surrounding residential areas.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester is creating the blueprint for a real culture change in the way people travel.
“Our city-region’s 10 districts have been working on these plans since 2017 and crucially, residents have helped to develop them, based on what they want their neighbourhoods to look like.
“Now we have a world-class plan and we know how to deliver it, but we cannot do it alone. We need the Government to back us with sustained funding over the next ten years to enable us to complete the Bee Network. If they do so they will be helping create a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country.
“Put simply, if they help us change our city-region, we can help change the country too.”
Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman, said: “With one in three car journeys in Greater Manchester being less than 1 kilometre, it’s clear we have to change. It’s impacting our air, our health, and the place we’re expecting our children to grow up, get on and grow old.
“All 10 Greater Manchester councils have taken on this challenge and they’ve already started transforming ambition into action. But without guaranteed government investment, we are hamstrung. To revolutionise travel across a whole city region we’re asking for the same financial backing over a ten-year period as it’s costing for a single junction improvement scheme in Bedford. I know which will return the best investment – not only for our city-region but the nation as a whole.”
Councillor Ateeque Ur Rehman, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “We’d welcome the funding to deliver the schemes in the investment programme.
“The money would help connect residents across the borough and would mean people could make healthy choices, like leaving the car at home and walking or cycling for shorter journeys.
“The investment supports our ambitious ‘Creating a Better Place’ regeneration proposals which will not only create jobs and homes but also ensure Oldham is a great place to visit, live and do business in.
“We want Oldham to become the greenest borough in Greater Manchester and schemes such as the Bee Network will help support our work, and that of our partners.”