Transport minister to see first hand A303 problems

PUBLISHED: 13:25 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:25 09 April 2014

Local MP Neil Parish will be seizing the opportunity to press the minister for transport for urgent action to tackle problems on the A303.

Mr Parish, who is the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, will be showing Transport Minister Robert Goodwill the problems faced by local residents, visitors and businesses as they travel the whole of the A303 later today.

The campaign to improve the A303 is a top priority for Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire County Councils and has been supported by the Local Enterprise Partnerships, who have been active in championing the case to Government.

Mr Parish, who is the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said : “I am very pleased to be able to show the Minister the whole of the A303 route see for himself the challenges faced by South West motorists and visitors on this road. His willingness to make time to see this route is a sure sign that the Government is sympathetic to our calls to upgrade this road. However, this will also be an opportunity to press the Minister for urgent action to tackle this known tourist bottleneck that is a block for businesses in the South West Peninsula – studies show it has the potential to bring £42bn of additional growth if the entire route was dualled.

“The study by the Highways Agency will provide vital momentum to this campaign and we also welcome the work undertaken by Devon County Council with partners Somerset County Council into the stretch of road between Honiton and Ilminster. I look forward to seeing the results.”

In addition to the current route based study being undertaken by the Highways Agency, which will report back in time for the Autumn statement, Devon County Council is considering the potential for improvements to the Honiton – Broadway stretch.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, the Devon County Council cabinet member for economy added: “ As the only other alternative to the M5, the A303 is a gateway for commerce, whether it be local businesses or visitors to our area. But businesses need certainty to be able operate effectively. Delays and congestion on the A303 mean that journey times are unpredictable, forcing traffic to take other routes. This is a lost opportunity for us, and we want start the process of improving the corridor to help our businesses and communities to prosper.”

Local residents are invited to have their say on the A303 and can fill out an online survey by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/A303ahead before April 22. The results will be collated and a fresh public consultation will be launched to consider the options in the summer.

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