LABOUR THUMBS UP AS A1 DUALLING PROJECT COMMENCES
Feasibility study to be completed in time for Chancellors Autumn Statement as Leader Grant Davey calls for a ‘unified voice’.
Labour run Northumberland County Council has stepped up its support for the long anticipated dualling of the A1 connecting the county with Scotland after a positive meeting with officials from the Department of Transport. Senior officials from the authority met with their civil service counterparts to agree a series of feasibility studies that will establish a business case for the upgrade of the remainder of the road through the county.
It follows a new focus by the new Labour administration in Northumberland on ways to grow the county economy with a 20 year strategy to encourage population growth and boost economic activity seen as complimentary to significant transport infrastructure investment. The county has identified the feasibility studies as a way to encourage the coalition government to invest in the A1.
It is believed that the business case will be the key document that will persuade the Treasury to give the green light to a project that has been talked about for over 50 years.
The council will now co-ordinate the agreed scope for the studies with a view to completion by autumn. This coincides with the next series of significant announcements through the Chancellor’s autumn statement.
Labour group and County Council leader Grant Davey said
‘We’re keen to make the case for Northumberland through these feasibility studies because we believe that the dualling of the A1 will play a significant role in boosting our economic performance. With the anticipated changes North of the Border post independence referendum, we think ‘connectivity’ will be key to allowing our region to compete with Scotland. Even without independence, there is the potential for new powers for the devolved government in Edinburgh and it’s clear that the government in Westminster has to back the North East through increased investment in transport infrastructure. This is a cross party issue and I believe our case will be more effective if put to government collectively. I’m keen to discuss ways with our political opponents to allow the county to speak with one voice’.