Our Story

Why Do 'One Levenshulme & Co' Exist

The Low Traffic Neighborhood in Levenshulme, started out as 'Levenshulme: Our Active Streets,' and then later, 'Levenshulme Bee Network,' and is now 'Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhood.' the scheme is a divergence from most other schemes as this was a so-called 'Community-led intiative.'

The project is funded from the (Greater Manchester) Mayor's Challenge Fund. The aims are to increase, improve and enable walking and cycling in the area. This was not in response to a specific problem per se but was a bid to this fund for an Active Neighbourhood to achieve those aims. The project is a combination of the aspirational to enhance the area and to make it safer and easier and get around with a focus on behavioural change to get people to use care less and walk and cycle more.

The scheme is also intended to form part of the wider, 'Manchester Beelines,' initiative; the vision of Chris Boardman in his capacity of Greater Manchester Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

£700,000 has been provided to develop proposals and undertake a trial before then making a business case to secure £1.8m of possible future funding to implement changes fully. The trial was originally intended to start in July 2019 but the initial plans were not announced until May 2020. Since then they have been revised substantially with a trial now planned to start in January 2021. By the summer the project had spent around £300,000 of the funding.

When the plans for the LTN were released at the very end of May 2020, they utilised only road blocks and bus gates with the six-month trial supposedly set for the beginning of July. We were concerned by the plans with a specific focus on the impacts on different roads being crucial. The project proposes no changes to our busiest roads. In fact, the central aim of the plan is to prevent vehicles using side roads as much and channelling them onto busier roads that have been identified as 'through routes'. A major concern is that these residential roads will end up being more congested, more polluted and more dangerous as a result of this project. Access to all roads will be maintained but journeys using the quieter roads for residents and businesses will take longer increasing journey lengths as people divert around the roadblocks.

We made leaflets with the details of the scheme, why it was unfair, the list of council contacts and our facebook group on, uploaded them to the group and members who were able printed them and went door-to-door. The vast majority of the residents visited had never heard of the scheme.

Initially, our tag line was 'Safe Roads, not Blocked Roads,' and we were known as 'The Unfiltered Roads Group,' but we renamed to align ourselves with others across the country who were facing similar issues.

As a close community, it is understandable, that we could find out about something happening in our local area by a neighbour either knocking on our door to have a chat, or by reading a leaflet which a concerned neighbour has passed through our door: What is not understandable nor acceptable however, is how that would happen in the case of a council led intitiative.

We all kept in touch with each other and tried to get answers from the Levenshulme Bee Network Team, and from the Council. We took part in their Webinars, and our questions were ignored, and in one webinar, an individual member of our community was identified as being responsible for asking too many questions. Manchester City Council apologised for this incident, but genuine concerns and questions continued to be left unanswered by both the project team and the Council.

These concerns included:

  • The validity of the data used as a basic to inform the design of the scheme.
  • A lack of legally required processes such as Equality Impact Assessments having been completed.
  • The systematic lack of engagement with many segments of our community and an exclusive approach to community engagement.
  • Plans had not been formed in co-operation with the Emergency Services.
  • Some of the 'trial' items required permanent changes to infrastructure.
  • Unavoidable Personal Conflicts in Project Members' personal interests which ultimately created bias in the scheme.
  • The lack of interventions other than roadblocks in order to resolve local issues.
  • A lack of baseline data to enable objective assessment of the success of the trial
  • No risk Assessment to the health of the residents on the boundary roads.
  • Insufficient consideration of the impact of increased traffic, air pollution and noise pollution on the boundary roads.
  • A complete lack of consultation with local businesses.
  • A complete lack of consulation with the company responsible for the delivery of social care in the local area.
  • Inefficient use of MCC funds and a clandestine approach to the sharing of financial and project data.

It is important to note that some of these issues have since been resolved by the Council but equally important to note that soem have not, and also that this list is by no means exhaustive.

Under advice from the Police regarding the then current covid restrictions, a significantly reduced 26 of us took part in an outdoor session where we looked at the implications of the trial and invited our local councillors to meet and talk about how to proceed. We took with us, feedback and considerations, from everyone outside the 26 who had them. In all honesty, the councillors were not able to give answers, but did give commit to a more inclusive engagement going forward.

We continued with our investigations into the plans, and with our engagement activities, and found more and more issues with theplans which were submitted to Manchester City Council via our councillors, and we believe, resolved on a case by case basis. Depsite apparent support from our councillors, almost every piece of information we obtained, had to be obtained by submitting Freedom of Information Requests as the project team and the Council continually failed to provide us with reassurance through any other means. In one case, we had to request an internal review of the response to our request before being given the requested information. it is also worth bearing in mind that each request takes 20 days to be responded to, and so this continuous delay in the provision of information made it extremely difficult for One Levenshulme to fully understand and respond as part of the community in respect to the potential implications of the scheme.

Our research led us to discover similar schemes in other areas both inside and outside of Manchester, which were also receiving much objection from their own respective communities. We were however re-assured by our contacts, that our local councillors' involvement and engagement with our group was an extremely positive achievement and something that other groups had failed to acheieve.

Our Councillors in response to feedback across the community, delayed the trial, to allow for further enagagement. This was a welcome reprieve from an extremely stressful situation for our community but still left lots of questions unanswered and so during this time, we again invited our councillors to another meeting which unfortunately had to be held online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Again, although not all questions were answered, we were re-assured that the points and concerns we had raised would be considered before the implementation of the trial. We have made this meeting available on this site on our media page.

During the delay, up until the close of the consulation, we continued to work with MCC to ensure that the enagement was as effective as possible and we continued to raise problematical issues with the scheme.

So far, One Levenshulme & Co have seen the following as a direct result of our efforts:

  • Manchester City Council delayed the proposed July launch date to allow further engagement with the community.
  • Manchester City Council reviewed the Management of the project which resulted in a complete overhaul of the project team,
    • Let us be clear about this point in particular. MCC completely overhaulled the project team. This is not done because a minority of people are vocal. This is done when things are not working properly, and clearly, the concerns One Levenshulme & Co raised with the council were at least in part validated by the removal of this team.
  • Sustrans were removed from being involved in the design and this instead was handled by the MCC design Team.
  • We Delivered over 15,000 leaflets throughout Levenshulme & Burnage to help spread awareness of the scheme.
  • We Visited Local Businesses and residents to spread awareness of the scheme. (There is still a huge amount of work to be done in this area)
  • We Successfully lobbied local councillors to provide alternative engagement methods rather than just online, questionnaires and freepost addresses were made available.
  • Made copies of these questionnaires and worked with local businesses to make them available at numerous location all over Levenshulme.
  • Consistently engaged with our councillors to ensure they are aware of neighbourhood concerns.
  • Created a website with quick and easy access to official feedback channels, and translated this website into 7 different language.
  • Identified and challenged wasteful use of MCC resources.
  • Informed the Emergency Services of the project
  • For the first time in this project, and after two years of planning already taking place MCC council started engagement with the emergency services: This Engagement was in addition to their requirement for compulsory consultation once the trial plans are confirmed.
  • As part of our community, we have forced a reduction in the planned number of roadblocks from 32, to 14, albeit, some will be inevitable as part of phase 2 of the project.
  • Forced the removal of the parts of the trial that required permanent infrastructural changes which could have potentially increased the danger on our roads.

We still have much more to do. We've won many battles, but we are fighting a war against people who think that their needs outweigh those of others less fortunate. We will ultimately prevail, because we are all, One Levenshulme. (and Co)