A COUNCILLOR whose ward is at the centre of three proposed new bus services hopes they could help residents ditch the car.

Cllr Barry Burkhill, Cheshire East Council member for Handforth, believes it is becoming ‘impossible’ to drive through the village at certain times of the day.

But he is welcoming the news that three ‘bus rapid transit’ services have been proposed, connecting SK9 with Greater Manchester.

Cllr Burkhill said: “It is becoming impossible to drive around Handforth unless you go at certain times of the day, otherwise you are stuck.

“But if anything is going to help people get in and out of the area without using their cars, then that would be a very welcome thing.”

The new bus services make up one of eight proposals in the draft South East Manchester multi-modal strategy (SEMMMS) refresh.

Following on from the original strategy in 2001, the new-look SEMMMS is designed to improve the area’s roads, public transport, paths and cycleways, so infrastructure in both Cheshire East and Stockport boroughs can handle the area’s growth.

The ‘bus rapid transit’ services would be similar to the guided busway currently used between Leigh and Manchester.

One route would run from Stockport to Manchester Airport via Bramhall, Woodford and Handforth, while one would connect Wilmslow to Manchester Airport, and the third would connect Wilmslow with East Didsbury’s Metrolink station.

The draft SEMMMS strategy says: “Whilst existing rail networks support north-south travel, the need for better east-west connectivity was identified very early in the strategy refresh.

“To help improve the overall problem, the strategy recommends three new bus rapid transit services.

“The services are proposed to provide new connections for residents, as well as closely integrate with proposed new development sites.”

The scheme would include a bus-only link between Handforth and Woodford, bus priority in some sections of the A34, and the potential to further extend services to Macclesfield in future.

Residents are currently being invited to have their say on the proposal, along with the other ideas in the draft strategy.

Cllr Don Stockton, CEC cabinet member for environment, added: “I would urge people to take advantage of the opportunity to influence the decision-makers and make their suggestions as to how best shape travel and transport plans in their community.”

For more information visit semmms.info