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Westcountry needs new roads 'to catch up with the rest of UK'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 27, 2012

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Campaigners for improved road links in the Westcountry have dismissed warnings that a major rethink is required on a raft of road building schemes.

The Campaign for Better Transport says kick-starting schemes costing around £30 billion is not the answer to the nation's economic woes and may have great environmental drawbacks.

A report by the group says plans for 26 road schemes with a combined distance of 175km and a price tag of £3.6 billion in the South West should also be reconsidered.

These include plans to widen the A30 in Cornwall, which ministers are considering, and moves to expand the A303, promoted by Somerset County Council. Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall business council and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said plans to add carriageways to major routes westwards were "long overdue".

"We start with a great deficit in the debate – we are the Cinderella of infrastructure in the UK and have a lot of catching up to do," he added.

"The schemes have all been through a detailed scrutiny process and the A303 dualling has been done to death – we are not dusting down old schemes but pushing a strong business case."

Former Conservative transport minister Stephen Norris and a campaigner previously jailed for opposing road building have joined to launch Going Backwards: the new roads programme. It says plans are afoot to build enough road to stretch from the Isles of Scilly to the Shetland Isles and predicts strong local opposition.

Mr Norris said: "Now is the time for brave and creative decision-making, not a return to road building policies that were tried and failed in the 1990s."

CBT spokeswoman Jenny Raggett added: "One of the problems with major roads is that local authorities just can't accept no."

Torbay MP Adrian Sanders, whose constituency is keenly awaiting the completion of the South Devon Link Road, said the London-based group should "not dictate" to the region.

"I think it is right to look at road schemes where there may be alternatives, but that does not apply here where we don't have the kind of public transport that these people take for granted," he added.

Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, said: "New roads are fine when and where they have the support from the local community.

"The plans to upgrade the A30 to dual carriageway between Temple and Higher Carblake are a good proposal which needs funding to reduce delays and accidents and tackle congestion caused by this bottleneck."

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  • DB361  |  October 30 2012, 5:06PM

    You have to laugh that people think that roads can't be upgraded because the railways need investment and visa versa. The truth is that both need major investment, but for obvious reasons there just isn't the money to do so at the moment. So you have to prioritise - where needs it most and where would give the best return? The roads are obvious - dual the A303 and A30 through Cornwall, and improve some of the junctions on the M5 which cause the most congestion (J27 and the new look J29 spring immediately to mind). On the trains, I actually think that the long distance services are OK, if not perfect. Hopefully electrification further up the line will improve things further. I would prefer to see much more investment in local services. Exeter is seeing some investment in new stations, and I would like to see new trains to help cope with what is an overcrowded area, whether heading to Exmouth, Paignton or Barnstaple. But most towns on the mainline have no service whatsoever - Plympton, South Brent, Cullompton and Wellington are all sizeable places with a railway, but no station. I think that there's a lot to be utilised here.

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  • Stork  |  October 30 2012, 12:25PM

    Unless you can pre-book your rail ticket ages in advance. Then rail fares are just too expensive. A few years ago, I wanted to go to London on a specific day, but was flexible on time. I telephoned the rail company for a ticket and was put through to a young man. I enquired about the various train times, and fares, but was surprised by the high fares. The young man agreed the fares were high, and told me he was leaving the rail company that Friday. I asked him, how many really cheap seats were there on a large Inter City train. At that time, Super Apex was the cheapest. He told me, there were only FOUR Super Apex tickets available on each train. "I know", he said, " it's a con".

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  • AdrianGull  |  October 30 2012, 12:21PM


  • Newquaygreen  |  October 30 2012, 11:35AM

    We don't need any more roads, we need a better rail system which would servre business much better and probably tourists also. Until you can get to London by train for 0900 then Cornwall will be left as an outsider

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  • bissoeboy  |  October 29 2012, 2:13PM

    Generic comment against progression

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  • merrythought  |  October 28 2012, 12:09PM

    The west country has always been the poor relation when it comes to government spending our road system needs updating not just for the ordinary motorist but also industry and tourism which would also provide the jobs for the young and unemployed. Unfortunately until we have MP's that are in a government on either side we do not have enough punch.. When I say MP's in goverment I don't mean those that are in goverment but still behave as though they are in opposition

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  • hughanchor  |  October 28 2012, 10:18AM

    The Campaign for "Better" Transport are just a bunch of anti-car flat earthers. We need better roads, better railways, better cycle paths right across the South West. These CBT flat earthers know nothing about the South West, why don't they just focus on where they all live, i.e. London and the Home Counties? And "Reptor 2456" can just shut up (Tom Tucker, Mrs Dixon, Jason Mint resurrected, yawn), you aren't a Devonian, you are from elsewhere and sadly you decided to live here. Both Devon and Cornwall are beautiful, why don't you move to Grimsby if you hate it here?

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  • Big_Ger  |  October 28 2012, 8:55AM

    I have to agree with those who say we need a complete overhaul of our road system in Cornwall.

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  • reptor2456  |  October 27 2012, 3:14PM

    @ the poster below. The reason Devon is in the dark ages is purely down to the residence who moan, moan, moan and don't want progress. Serves them right that Devon is such a poo hole.

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  • kernewekonan  |  October 27 2012, 3:05PM

    yet again more wingeing, these people seem to want to return to the dark ages . there should be a proper dual carriage or part motorway from at least penzance to scotland. we here in cornwall would get nowhere without a car full stop. lets see some real roads built asap.

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