Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Whitehaven relief road consultation: ONE WEEK TO GO

The current public consultation about a possible A595 relief road for Whitehaven finishes one week from today (Wednesday 19th December 2018.)

I believe this has the potential to improve the viability of West Cumberland Hospital and outcomes for patients, as well as having major benefits for the local economy and for the quality of life of residents of the villages in West Cumbria currently affected by rat-running because the A595 is not coping with existing demand.

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. (I am told by Highways England that there have already been hundreds 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: A595Whitehaven@highwaysengland.co.uk 
  • 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

Did I mention that all responses should be returned by Wednesday 19 December 2018?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You can also read details of the proposals …" There are no proposals

Chris Whiteside said...

As I explained in the main post, this is a stage one consultation and there isn't yet a defined route. That is up for discussion and Highways England are open to suggestions.

However, there is a lot of detail on the site which I linked to, particularly if you click on the PDF version of the consultation brochure. This includes what work has been done so far, why Highways England and the government are looking at improving the road, including by providing a Whitehaven Relief Road, and the study area they are looking at.