RESIDENTS, councillors and leaders have had their say on proposals for new park and ride spaces in Radcliffe which have been revealed as part of a major transport overhaul for Greater Manchester.

Plans for 1,000 new park and ride spaces by the end of 2020 have been announced by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, of which several could be built in Radcliffe.

Discussions have been held over adding another level to the existing Metrolink park and ride in Spring Lane, which currently has capacity for about 300 vehicles.

The exact number of new parking spaces expected to be created is unknown at this stage, but any future plans would be consulted upon, with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) saying they would invite feedback from Radcliffe residents.

Former Bury Council leader, Rishi Shori, previously welcomed the transport proposals: "Part of the proposals include potentially adding another level to the existing Metrolink stop to improve capacity. This would be in line with the plans for Bury, to increase capacity.

"Improving capacity at the Metrolink station in Radcliffe would hopefully help alleviate on-street parking problems around the Metrolink."

The current parking situation in the residential streets surrounding the Metrolink has been described as "chaotic" and as a "nightmare" for drivers.

Resident Tony Billington, who lives near the park and ride, said: "I can't see this working really as we have no idea where the car park might be for this pie in the sky idea.

"We already have problems with street parking in the Metrolink area which has already been well documented and complained about on Facebook, especially on the Radcliffe First page.

"Residents of the streets in the immediate vicinity of the station have been campaigning for permit parking for several months."

A consultation has been undertaken to give residents living in Barlow Street and Bridgefield Street a chance to have their say on a parking scheme.

Labour Cllr Rhyse Cathcart, who represents Radcliffe East, said: "The concern of residents is that there is already a parking issue in Radcliffe because residents cannot park outside their own homes. The streets are often very chaotic. There is a feeling that more parking spaces will attract more cars.

"We do need more parking at the Metrolink and we do want to take cars off the roads but it needs to form part of a wider strategy."

He added: "The first wave of residential parking could be brought in to alleviate some of the problems. But again there are concerns that it will simply disperse the problem further out.

"A restriction time is also due to be brought in at the medical centre car park, again to alleviate the all-day parking for people using the Metrolink."

Conservative Cllr Paul Cropper, who represents Radcliffe North, said: "There is a huge problem with parking at Radcliffe tram station.

"If Mr Burnham is serious about this, then Radcliffe tram stop has to be extended, perhaps with one or two more tiers putting on the current car park.

"There is a case for a Radcliffe permit scheme too, a certain number to be allocated to Radcliffe residents who use the tram station regularly in the week."

However, the plans for potential new park and ride spaces in Radcliffe have been criticised by others.

Independent Cllr James Mason, who represents the newly formed political party Radcliffe First, said: "Why should Radcliffe, which is already over burdened and under invested in, be sacrificed to aide congestion in the city centre?

"Local businesses already suffer with overflowing parking in our town and that’s not to mention air pollution from already existing standing traffic.

"Transport for Greater Manchester need to think long and hard about the current issues surrounding the Metrolink parking."

In addition to new Metrolink spaces, Mr Burnham outlined plans for new trams being introduced with a contactless card system.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) leaders were due to discuss the changes at a meeting last week. If agreed, the plans will be put out for an independent review and then a public consultation, with the final decision expected next year.

Chris Barnes, TfGM's Interim Head of Projects Group, said: "Expanding Park and Ride is central to Our Network, the Mayor’s vision for Greater Manchester’s public transport.

"It will enable more people to complete their journeys by Metrolink, reducing congestion and improving the quality of our air.

"We will be working closely with the local community in the development of any proposals at Radcliffe."