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IRLAM COMMUNITY SLAMS BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE CHAOS AS PEEL HOLDINGS AND SALFORD COUNCIL WRANGLE CONTINUES
 

Star date: 2nd December 2017

£150,000 PER YEAR COSTS ARE STOPPING SHIP CANAL LIFTING BRIDGE FROM OPENING

'Peel Holdings has got Salford Council by the short and curlies...'

A packed, stormy meeting of the Irlam and Cadishead Community Committee last night heard how Peel Holdings and Salford Council are in dispute over the £150,000 per year costs of operating and maintaining the new lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal.

Residents vented their fury over the traffic chaos caused by the delay to the bridge opening, as one man said he'd had to put his fishery business up for sale, while others told of kids missing school, ambulances being held up and people being late for work.

Full details here...


Last night, two officers from Salford City Council - Ben Dolan, Strategic Director of Salford Council, and Shoaib Mohammad, Head of Highways - faced up to local people at a packed meeting of the Irlam and Cadishead Community Committee, where fury was vented over traffic chaos and the non-opening of the Barton Lifting Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal (for a full background see previous Salford Star article – click here and click here).

Salford Council and Peel Holdings have been at loggerheads over who will pay for the operation of the bridge, with Ben Dolan revealing at the meeting that the costs will be around £150,000 a year for repairs and maintenance, and likely to rise in the future.

With a further meeting between the Council and Peel scheduled for next week, Dolan couldn't offer any answers as to when the bridge would open... "We're hoping to find a resolution quickly" he said "The opening date is in the hands of Peel at the moment and they formally haven't notified the Council..."

One community member asked why a contract wasn't drawn up at the start of the process...

"Right from the outset of this project it was clear for the Council that it was Peel's responsibility" Dolan responded "...Peel, as far as I'm concerned, are saying that the Council gave some kind of undertaking. All I've seen is one letter which refers to highways infrastructure, and highways infrastructure is not the bridge, it's the highway..."

Dolan was asked if there's a Plan B if Peel refuse to open the bridge..."If necessary the Council will take appropriate legal action" he responded "We have instructed our lawyers to see what opportunities there are to get the bridge open as soon as we can."

He confirmed that Peel had discussed making the bridge into a toll but argued that it wasn't acceptable to the Council... "There's £30million public money in loans and grants in that bridge" he said "That means it's got to be open free of use for the public..."

He added that, in order for the bridge to be made a toll, there would be legal mechanisms Peel would have to go through, including paying back the public money; and that it would be opposed by both Salford Council and Trafford Council... "The Council would do everything in its power to stop any kind of application for a toll on the bridge."

In the meantime, Dolan said that the Council has proposed to Peel that the bridge be opened while the legal wrangle is sorted... "In our view there is nothing to stop the bridge from being opened and the Council is quite happy to sit down with Peel and talk..."

Both Dolan and Mohammad stated that, in the Council's opinion, the traffic chaos that is engulfing the area is linked directly to the non-opening of the bridge but members of the community were not convinced this was the solution.

If the bridge opening doesn't relive the congestion, the Council would have to go back to the drawing board, the meeting heard, but it was convinced that its traffic modelling was accurate.

Meanwhile, residents told of children missing half an hour a day at school through traffic problems, people being late for work and ambulances taking over an hour to arrive at the medical centre...

"As from this week we've had to put our fishery up for sale through this road" said the owner of Moss Farm Fisheries in Irlam "So whoever is in charge of it at Salford Council and the Highways can I say off me and my family, 'Thank you'..."

He got no response and walked out of the meeting in disgust.

The loudest cheer of the evening was in response to a woman who articulated the feelings of the residents... "I really feel that you're not listening" she told the Council reps "...That poor guy has lost a business...this hasn't just been going on for a few weeks this has been going on for months" she said.

"I've heard of countless people that have been warned in work because they're late on a regular basis" she added "Is anyone bothered? Because we should be...Peel Holdings has got the Council, putting it crudely, by the short and curlies; they are basically holding the Council to ransom and we're sitting here doing nothing about it...We need a road to get in and out of Irlam, it's been going on for thirty odd years, it's ridiculous..."


* Earlier in the meeting, Councillor Roger Jones had appealed to the community to sign a petition opposing Peel Holdings plans to build up to 1,400 houses on Boysnope Park Golf Course. To sign the petition – click here


The Irlam and Cadishead Community Committee Meeting was livestreamed by Salford Soapbox on its Facebook site – to view it click here

Photo by Steven Speed

Peter wrote
at 07:53:30 on 04 December 2017
Anyone who lives in Salford must know by now those in charge of traffic in the Salford area are totally incompetent. Just look at Broad street now hardly any traffic why because the idiots who run things have forced all traffic into and out of Manchester City centre down Regent road.This means nearly 24 hours a day we have a very high level of pollution around housing estates great for the health of our children.And why make Broad street one lane because of the University which takes priority over the health of Salford children. The people in charge could not organise a piss up in a brewery the allowed more apartments but never state there must be parking available no they let them build with no concern for the people who have lived there for generations and the cars park anywhere they want mainly on pavement. Well done Salford council while most are trying to reduce pollution you have increased it massively.
 
Jimmy wrote
at 07:52:16 on 04 December 2017
I'd hardly say it was a stormy meeting. Were the Star actually there?
 
Brexit=democracy=freedom wrote
at 07:48:28 on 04 December 2017
The real reason Salford Council is screwing up the roads in Salford is because in the next number of years there going to reintroduce the CONgestion charge, only this time we the public won’t get a vote on it. Also remember this is what ken Livingston did in London, he had the footpaths widened, traffic lights sequences changed to causes congestion, all before he brought the congestion charge in, and this is what Salford Council is doing. Be warned people.
 
Peter wrote
at 17:00:06 on 03 December 2017
Anyone who lives in Salford must know by now those in charge of traffic in the Salford area are totally incompetent. Just look at Broad street now hardly any traffic why because the idiots who run things have forced all traffic into and out of Manchester City centre down Regent road.This means nearly 24 hours a day we have a very high level of pollution around housing estates great for the health of our children.And why make Broad street one lane because of the University which takes priority over the health of Salford children. The people in charge could not organise a piss up in a brewery the allowed more apartments but never state there must be parking available no they let them build with no concern for the people who have lived there for generations and the cars park anywhere they want mainly on pavement. Well done Salford council while most are trying to reduce pollution you have increased it massively.
 
Andy wrote
at 10:21:29 on 03 December 2017
Openining the bridge might help but wont solve the problem. The new road is a shambles and whoever designed needs sectioning. Why is it not 2 lanes all the to roundabout? What is purpose of the short lane that does not go anywhere? Why are the manholes already sunken? Why have the bends been made so tight and narrow? Why was the old road not left open as an alternative, at least until tbhe new one wss opened, tried and tested?
 
legal failure wrote
at 10:21:25 on 03 December 2017
The joint Salford/Manchester councils LEGAL team have failed again, why was this not all sorted out before Peel Holding put its hands deep in the pockets of salford residents and small business. Does the legal dept have a clue or have they just spent so much time abusing the Law/legal process against residents they don't know how to deal with cronnies like PEEL, or they just too far up their ar*es they never see it coming?
 
Bob wrote
at 07:24:57 on 03 December 2017
I know that by now, the editor of the Star will be busy working on the Stars new years honours list. Is it too late to suggest perhaps a new award this year, named after the Roman emperor Vespasian? Vespasian was famous for giving us 2 expressions of speech we still use today. "taking the piss", and "money has no smell". The idea is, if you are a good piss taker, or a maker of money by unscrupulous methods, then you win. I would think peel should be strong contenders on both counts.
 
Sean Kilgarriff wrote
at 17:39:29 on 02 December 2017
A great report from the meeting, thank you for publishing it.
 
Surprised wrote
at 17:39:00 on 02 December 2017
I have an idea why the Peel Group will not open the bridge. I don't know if anyone missed the fact that the bridge collapsed when it was tested. I went to the Peel Group website and it said the unfortunate incident was due to a software problem. Bridges should not be working on computerised systems. All that is needed is 4 Synchronised Three Phase Relays / Contactors to run 4 Heavy Duty Motors, which would pull the bridge up and down on Reinforced Cables. Then connect trip switches at the top and bottom to cut off the circuit when the bridge reaches the desired height. Most River Bridges within the UK are wired like this. However, for some unknown reason, the Peel Group is using a computer or some type of processing device to run the motors. On their website it clearly states that "the bridge collapsed because all the load was transferred to one pillar which caused the bridge to collapse". Why is the Peel Group using an over complicated and very expensive processing device that relies on expensive software to raise and lower this bridge when a simple Three Phase Synchronised Relay / Contactor Circuit with an on, off, forward, and reverse button operating the Relays / Contactors with cut off switches installed to the top and bottom of the bridge could be used, at a fraction of the cost and is certainly more reliable? The reason why I have mentioned this is because the more complex a structure and its operating components, the more it will brake down. So that is the reason why I feel the Peel Group does not want to be responsible for the running costs of this bridge. They overthought what should have been a simple build and they know that this over the top bridge will have huge running costs. So they are dumping the financial responsibility onto The Salford Council. As others have stated at this meeting, "until the Peel Group get the Salford Council to agree to pay for the upkeep of this bridge", "they are obviously going to refuse to open it", "because the running costs of maintaining this over complicated structure will be over £200,000 annually and the Peel Group will not want to fork out that amount of money every year". My advice, design things that are aesthetically pleasing but simple in build and design. If you keep it simple, you keep the running costs low.
 
Patricia Hackett wrote
at 09:38:52 on 02 December 2017
Ridiculous idea to build more houses which will inevitably generate more traffic in Irlam, where there is only one road in and out. Madness....
 
Melanie Broughton wrote
at 09:38:48 on 02 December 2017
We are effectively stuck in Irlam, buses either go around the bypass to cut time, or offer shorter shuttle services as the journeys are taking drivers out of driving time. The commuters suffer often being late for appointments and work.
 
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