Plymouth MP wants investment in transport infrastructure
CALLS have been made for improved road and rail links to and from Plymouth to be supported in a £50 billion government move to kick-start the economy.
Upgrading the A303 – one of only two strategic routes into the South West – and safeguarding the mainline should be among the schemes backed by Whitehall says a city MP.
It comes as the Chancellor George Osborne announced the Government would offer state guarantees to help fund up to £50 billion of major construction projects including new roads, rail lines, and housing developments. The underwriting of building schemes is among a series of measures unveiled by the Treasury aimed at revitalising the ailing economy and pulling the country out of recession.
The Government is also to legislate to speed up planning decisions and encourage development of Green Belt land, if certain conditions are met.
Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said he would be pressing to secure support for both improvements to the A303, and the mainline rail route, which is vulnerable to coastal erosion.
Mr Colvile said: "If we are looking for growth and want to make sure the South West economy and that of Plymouth is rebalanced, key to that is ensuring we have the best transport infrastructure possible."
So-called 'connectivity' has long been seen as the biggest issue facing the region.
The M5 is one of only two strategic routes into the South West, and accidents can lead to it being closed for long periods. It has led to pressure for improvements to the 92-mile long A303 which runs through five counties and suffers from severe bottlenecks. Last November it was shut for 48 hours after one of the worst British motorway crashes in memory.
The city council has previously called for a "nationally significant" rail link connecting Plymouth to other major UK cities.
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into transport in the region back in 2009, the local authority pointed out the coastal rail link at Dawlish had been damaged on a number of occasions by the weather, cutting the mainline to Plymouth and Cornwall.