Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Conservative MP John Stevenson calls for re-trunking of A595

Carlisle's Conservative MP John Stevenson has written to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin calling on him to consider putting the whole of the road back under the direct control of Highways England. He believes the matter should be explored because of the part the A595 will play in the county’s future industrial development and economic growth.

Most of the A-road, which runs from Carlisle to Barrow, is currently managed by Cumbria County Council after it was de-trunked, against the wishes of the County council, district councils, Town and Parish councils, and all three local political parties. I was one of those who gave evidence at the Public Inquiry against the de-trunking - we won the argument but the last Labour government went ahead and de-trunked the road anyway. The remainder of the road, a stretch running through West Cumbria remains under the control of Highways England as part of its national network of key routes.

John Stevenson's letter follows a visit by the Transport Secretary to another key Cumbrian route late last month. He joined other ministers, senior politicians and engineers at the A591 between Keswick and Grasmere.

In his letter, Mr Stevenson writes:

“The long-term economic success of the county will be greatly enhanced if connectivity within the county is improved, particularly with regards to the road network.

“I accept that there are limited funds available in which to achieve this, but nevertheless, with the national strategic investment of a new nuclear plant on the west coast of Cumbria, improving connectivity within the county becomes increasingly necessary.

“In this regard, the A595 is the key road within the county connecting Carlisle to Sellafield. From there it continues to Barrow. Currently, a very small section of it is looked after by Highways England but the remainder has been de-trunked and is Cumbria County Council’s responsibility.”

He added: “Unfortunately, Cumbria County Council are not in a position or has the capability to upgrade this road. I understand that the LEP [Local Enterprise Partnership] is looking at the infrastructure priorities within the county and the A595 is clearly going to be the main one as it is the key enabler for Cumbria.

“However, to achieve anything substantial, some form of partnership is going to have to be created with the Highways Authority taking the lead.

“I would appreciate if you could look at the potential for the Highway Authority to once again become directly responsibility for the route, with a view to working in partnership with the Cumbria LEP and the various councils involved.”

Campaigns have been running for years, calling for significant investments and upgrades to the route.


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