Last week Halton Borough Council held a phone-in for Businesses to ask questions and raise concerns in relation to the Masterplan. Following this, HBC have issued a formal summary of the phone-in which can be downloaded below.
The main topic of conversation was the narrowing of Astmoor Road, as a number of businesses failed to see the logic behind this. It was explained that this was to create a more welcoming boulevard with pedestrian footpath and cycle paths. Businesses on the call were in agreement that Astmoor Road does require improvements, however, concerns were raised about the traffic capacity if it was reduced to a single carriageway. It was felt that although pedestrian paths and cycle lanes were required when the consultation was carried out in December 2018, pedestrian pathways and cycle paths have since been added to the busway as part of the busway improvements. The Council confirmed that a traffic survey has revealed there is enough capacity if Astmoor Road is narrowed, as there will be right turn lanes and feeder lanes, however, HBC intend to create a sub transport group, to be formed from those businesses that came forward with suggestions and comments regarding the narrowing of the road.
The parking (or lack of it) came up and the Council confirmed that they’re looking at a feasibility study for the east renewal and this may form a mini masterplan in itself. A parking survey is currently being commissioned by HBC to analyse the parking patterns of the different types of vehicles visiting this area, from which HBC will look to commission a parking strategy.
Green initiatives were discussed and the Council confirmed that the Discretionary Business Rates Relief Incentive Scheme, with its eligibility criteria for all new build, extensions and refurbishments is to encourage businesses to include things like cycling showers, electric charging points etc. The Council also confirmed that they are looking at other green initiatives such as a hydrogen initiative for the estate outside of the masterplan.
For ease of reference, we have attached the Discretionary Business Rates Relief Incentive Scheme documentation below. If you have any enquiries about this please forwarded them to email@example.com
The question was asked how people feel about the greenways and the consensus was to keep them.
An enquiry was made about the central hub and how likely this is to happen, to which the response was that this is still very much an option, however, no feasibility study has been completed yet, nor has the market been tested in relation to this. That said, the Council intend to work with any commercial operator interested in developing a hub.
It was mentioned that signage and visibility of the estate needs improving and it was confirmed that this is something that will be done, as part of the regeneration, once it has been decided what the estate will be known as.
The draft masterplan should be available for viewing via a link to the Council’s website very soon and we will let you know, as soon as that happens, so that you can view the whole final draft of the masterplan. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please click on the link below to view the virtual Astmoor Masterplan Presentation, created by masterplan consultants BDP, so that you can see how the plans have changed since the consultation period last year.
The link is https://youtu.be/sBs3NMOPl4c
During the call, feedback was given that some businesses feel that there’s little point raising any concerns as it’s a done deal and will still go ahead regardless. However, the Council reiterated that they would welcome and take on board any comments received, as the masterplan is a completed framework which will continue to evolve. Therefore, if you was unable to phone in on 30 July, you still have an opportunity to have your say, ask a question or raise a concern and can email Halton Borough Council at firstname.lastname@example.org up to 10 August. We would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity as this is the final date for all comments, before the masterplan will be presented to the Council’s Executive Board for adoption.