A coalition of bodies in Mid-Wales and the Midlands has written to Union Connectivity Review chair Sir Peter Hendy to call for a joined-up plan for ‘critical’ cross-border transport infrastructure investment.
In a follow-up submission, sub-national transport body Midlands Connect, Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Shropshire Council, Herefordshire Council and Powys Council argue that strategic transport corridors ‘have fallen through cracks in previous investment rounds due to the problems of differing authorities and policies either side of the border’.
The A5 near Shrewsbury
They add: ‘We must ensure that this doesn’t happen again in this area where rurality also hinders the investment programme. To overcome this we are working together to highlight the economic significance well connected infrastructure can bring and embrace the opportunity for investment in this region. This will only happen if partners across the border commit to working with Government to achieve this.’
Following publication of Sir Peter’s interim report, the group has urged the review panel to look at the number of road links in the full review:
- The A5, A458 and the A483 corridor (which includes the recently announced Pant Llanymynech Bypass) providing a key economic corridor across the border, essential to Oswestry, Shrewsbury and neighbouring towns in Wales such as Welshpool and Newtown
- Consider the international connections and access to Holyhead, in addition the A41 with its connections to the A55.
- The A49 'provides an essential north-south spine road for both freight and passengers through the Marches region' - 'we are keen to see national support for measures which could address congestion along this corridor, particularly for Hereford where the local authority is keen to progress a transport strategy which takes carbon reduction seriously, whilst also acknowledging the needs of businesses'.
- The A44 and the A438 between Worcestershire and Mid Wales via Herefordshire.
The group also called on the Government to look at a number of rail links between Mid-Wales and the Midlands.
Midlands Connect CEO Maria Machancoses said: ‘We hope that we can make the case to include some of these critical schemes into the final report and we look forward to doing that in the days ahead.’
Mandy Thorn, chair of the Marches LEP, said: ‘The Marches LEP shares more than 100 miles of border with Wales, and it is essential that we have modern, efficient transport links in place which help the economies either side of it to grow and prosper.
‘These transport links are the economic arteries of our region and we must ensure that they receive the necessary investment to be able to fulfil that strategic role.’