Friday, November 30, 2018

A595 Whitehaven Relief road public consultation THREE WEEKS TO GO

Regular readers of this blog will know, but I make no apology for another reminder, that there is a current public consultation about a possible A595 relief road for Whitehaven. 

I believe this has the potential to significantly improve the viability of West Cumberland Hospital and outcomes for patients, as well as having great benefits for the local economy and for the quality of live of residents of the villages in the area affected by rat-running.

This is a first stage consultation by Highways England who have not yet defined a route for the proposed new road and they continue to assure me that they are genuinely interested in suggestions from local stakeholders and the public about where the road should go. (Apparently there have already been a large number of positive and constructive points made.)

One of the suggestions which has been discussed between local county councillors and Highways England is the possibility that the relief road could include a specific spur to the hospital. The most likely route - East of Whitehaven from approximately the present Moresby roundabout at the South end of the Distington by-pass to a point between Westlakes and Moor Row - would make this relatively easy to add.

Clearly this would be a huge benefit to ambulances and patients needing to get to WCH in a hurry - and I doubt if I need to spell out to anyone reading this the potential benefit in terms of patient outcomes from that - but it would also make it easier for staff and resources to get to the West Cumberland and thereby improve the viability of the hospital. 

The proposed new relief road is not dependent on Moorside and it is a serious proposal. At the start of this month Transport secretary Chris Grayling came in person to Copeland to kick off the consultation on the proposed Whitehaven Relief Road and announced his "Cast Iron Commitment" to improving Cumbria's Roads as you can read on the government website at

Chris Grayling said:
  • "Investing in Cumbria’s vital transport routes cuts congestion, ensures drivers enjoy faster, safer journeys, and increases the freight capacity needed to drive forward jobs and economic growth." 
  • "This shows our cast-iron commitment to Cumbria, as we deliver the investment needed to provide businesses and commuters with more reliable and resilient journeys." 
  • The Secretary of State for transport also confirmed ongoing discussions with local partners on proposals to progress development of a major programme of upgrades on the Cumbrian Coast rail line to support expected major investments in West Cumbria and the creation of new jobs.

The consultation formally began on Wednesday 7th November 2018 and lasts until 19th December 2018. Consultation survey forms were sent out to residents in the Whitehaven area and for some distance around and I was pleased to learn this week that hundreds have already been returned.

You can also read details of the sort of new road which might come forward and the questions being asked in the consultation, and respond online at

I believe that we need this road and that it would be particularly helpful if as many people as possible responded to the consultation and said so, and if they also included in their response that it would be a very good idea - and very probably save lives - if the relief road included a spur to West Cumberland Hospital.

If you want to respond to the consultation you can do so using any of the four following methods by 19 December 2018:

  • Online – complete the response form online using the above link
  • Complete the consultation response form in the consultation brochure and return it using the freepost address provided 
  • Email your response to: 
  • Post – write to Highways England at: 

Business Reply Plus Licence Number RTZS–CEET–CSXR WSP
Amber Court
William Armstrong Drive
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear NE4 7YQ

All responses should be returned by 19 December 2018.


Anonymous said...

Nobody can be bothered

Chris Whiteside said...

Actually several hundred people have already sent in the consultation form. Highways England told me that they were impressed with the quality of the responses.

Well done those who could indeed be bothered to take part.

Anonymous said...

Yea but the outcome is already known

Chris Whiteside said...

Of course it isn't.

The more people write in supporting the scheme the easier it is to justify the £250m to £300m the road will cost to build.

If only two or three people wrote in and they were against, it would be very difficult indeed to justify spending that sort of money.

If hundreds of supporting responses come in, it is much more likely that the scheme will go ahead.

Anonymous said...

So it won't come down to a cost benefit analysis?

Chris Whiteside said...

Of course there will be a cost benefit analysis.

One of the things which will be included in that analysis will be tests of public support.

A scheme which lots of people have written in to support will, other things being equal, do better in a cost benefit analysis than one in which the public have shown no interest.