A10 and A47 upgrades top of the agenda as Mayor Palmer meets transport minister John Hayes

PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:00 28 December 2017

John Hayes (left) transport minister with Mayor James Palmer (centre) and Cllr John Clark, leader of Fenland Council and the combined authority portfolio holder for transport.

John Hayes (left) transport minister with Mayor James Palmer (centre) and Cllr John Clark, leader of Fenland Council and the combined authority portfolio holder for transport.

Archant

Upgrades to the A10 and the A47 were on the agenda when Mayor James Palmer, accompanied by his new transport portfolio holder Councillor John Clark, met roads minister John Hayes.

The meeting, held at the Department for Transport, considered the upcoming report commissioned by Mayor Palmer’s combined authority into dualling of the A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech.

And of the A10 the mayor said it was “hard to think of a road in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which is more in need of significant investment”.

Last summer Mayor Palmer criticised proposals by Highways England for the A47 which he claimed did not go far enough and were not being proposed quickly enough.

Although he welcomed the Guyhirn and Wansford improvements, the mayor was disappointed by their overall impact.

“I can’t help but feel disappointed by the published proposals overall,” he said. “They fall far short of what I believe is needed to tackle congestion along this key corridor.

In June the combined authority agreed to fund a business case for dualling the A47 between the A16 east of Peterborough and Walton Highway – what he described as a “crucial transport corridor”.

The report is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

Mayor Palmer said of his pre-Christmas meeting with the minister that “I made clear that though the improvements proposed by Highways England to the A47 are a start, they don’t go far enough.

“There is a good opportunity that if our business plan is completed in time it could feed quite nicely into the next round of Government funding.

Mayor Palmer said: “The minister was aware of the huge importance of the A47 to the East Anglian economy and problems along the road between Wisbech and Peterborough which has a knock on effect for businesses not just in Cambridgeshire but Norfolk as well.”

On the A10, Mayor Palmer said: “Bearing in mind the amount of housing growth that is going to be coming forward along the A10, there really is no alternative to significant investment to upgrade the road. In my view, this must involve dualling.

“The county council commissioned report into the A10 has been two years in the making and is scheduled to be published in the New Year.

“It will be for the combined authority to interpret the report and develop proposals.”

He said the minister, who is also MP for South Holland and the Deeping, is “aware of the pressures on the road and said that the creation of the Department for Transport’s Major Road Network next year provides an ideal opportunity to secure the Government investment needed”.

In June the combined authority agreed to spend £8.75 million on business cases and feasibility studies that included dualling the A47, extending the M11 to the A47 aligned to upgrading the A10, and a business case for the Wisbech Garden Town proposal.

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