THE vast majority of people in Trafford breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday after congestion charge plans were firmly rejected by the Greater Manchester public.

Returning officer Sir Ian Macintosh revealed a unanimous ‘no’ from all 10 authority areas in the region, effectively killing the controversial scheme dead.

In Trafford the ‘no’ vote polled 79 per cent, with just 21 per cent voting in favour. Trafford also had the highest turnout with 63.6 per cent, while overall it was 53.2 per cent for Greater Manchester, with 1,033,000 from a possible 1.9 million casting a vote.

Trafford Council’s leader, Cllr Susan Williams, was among the first to laud the outcome, heralding it as a “fantastic day for democracy”.

“We have always insisted the views of local people should be crucial when making decisions about these TIF proposals,” she said, moments after learning of the result on Friday. “I’m pleased the referendum, which I proposed, has given people the chance to have their say through an official, democratic process, and these results will be of paramount importance when Trafford Council takes its vote on whether to support the proposals at Wednesday’s AGMA meeting.

“This is a fantastic day for democracy, and I’m delighted Trafford had the highest turn out of all the Greater Manchester authorities.

The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority said the need was now to push for public transport improvements regardless of Friday’s landslide no, and use the impetus of the TIFF bid to secure funding from all possible sources.

Councillor Matt Colledge, GMPTA chairman, said: “We now need to rethink and reconsider the limited funding we currently get and prioritise this across the region, while looking to identify further funding for our longer term public transport vision.2 Stretford and Urmston MP, Bev Hughes, who supported the congestion charge, admitted the scheme was now dead. She said: “Obviously the people of Greater Manchester and Trafford have spoken very clearly and we have to respect the outcome.

“However, the problems of congestion, pollution and climate change and the need for better public transport are not going to go away.”

To find out what you thought of the vote Messenger went out and about on the streets of Trafford on Monday. This is what local people had to say: Disabled Ken Hamer, 70, from Davyhulme, said: “I think it was wrong. You pay road tax on your vehicle and you should be allowed to go anywhere.

Matheos Spanou, 63, who owns County Grill in Urmston, said: “I’m glad actually. I think it was the expense. People can’t afford to pay.”

Joanna Ryan, 37, who owns Silver Sparkle jewellers in Urmston, said: “I quite liked the decision. It’s a good thing as people can get in and out of Urmston without having to pay.”

Ian McMillan, 70, from Sale, comes into Stretford regularly. He said: “It was just another tax really, wasn’t it. and I voted no for this reason. I live in Sale and it would have cost me to get here.”