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Shropshire
Saturday, April 20, 2024
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£243.4 million transport funding boost for Shropshire welcomed

News of a £243.4 million funding boost to Shropshire’s transport infrastructure has today been welcomed.

Councillor Dan Morris, local resident Rebecca Hill, Candidate Stuart Anderson, and Roads Minister Guy Opperman pictured at Leebotwood - the only village along the A49 in Shropshire without a pedestrian crossing which will now benefit from funding.
Councillor Dan Morris, local resident Rebecca Hill, Candidate Stuart Anderson, and Roads Minister Guy Opperman pictured at Leebotwood – the only village along the A49 in Shropshire without a pedestrian crossing which will now benefit from funding.

The cash is part of a new Government fund created by scrapping the northern leg of HS2 which sees a total of £1.2 billion awarded to the West Midlands.

The Shropshire Council area is to receive £136.4 million to be spent over the next seven years, with £107 million allocated to Telford & Wrekin.

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The Government is asking local authorities to invest in the transport projects that ‘matter most to communities – helping create jobs, grow the economy, and level up the country’.

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Place (Labour), said: “We have no detail on how much of the Local Transport Fund we will see in Telford and Wrekin each year but it will not kick in until April 2025 at the earliest. Our fear is that much of it could be loaded into the second half of the decade.

“In the meantime, we are left to pick up the pieces of the government’s decision to scrap direct train routes from the borough to London this summer and the challenge of finding money for ongoing highways maintenance remains. We are also still waiting for step free access to be delivered at Wellington Station despite it being announced five years ago.”

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public transport, said:

“We greatly welcome the announcement of this funding. We’re awaiting details of how the funding can be spent but first indications are that it will offer the opportunity to improve the county’s roads, bus and rail services, and transport infrastructure, which is great news for the county.”

Dan Morris, Cabinet member for highways, said: “We’re pleased that the council will be able to choose how to spend the money, and we will continue working with local communities to decide how to invest this funding in line with our emerging priorities and strategies.”

Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased to see the Government pledging this much-needed funding boost for our transport infrastructure.

“We also welcome the devolution of this allocation, allowing local authorities to decide how best to spend it.

“As one of the largest rural counties in England, an effective, reliable and well-maintained transport infrastructure is essential for the movement of people and goods – vital to our economic growth.

“We are currently putting the finishing touches to our new Chamber manifesto, which identifies the need to prioritise improvements and investment in the transport infrastructure.

“This is particularly important when it comes to levelling the playing field for some of Shropshire’s hardest-to-reach areas.”

Ruth added: “We see this Local Transport Fund allocation as very much a step in the right direction to unlock business growth.”

It comes just days after Shropshire was dealt a major public transport blow with news that the county’s direct rail service to London is being axed in June.

The Chamber has voiced its concerns and urged decision makers and stakeholders to rethink the plans.

Ruth said: “Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has long identified that one of the key barriers to growth in Shropshire is the lack of transport infrastructure which is fit for purpose in terms of both road and rail.”

Stuart Anderson, South Shropshire’s Conservatives Parliamentary Candidate, welcomed the Minister for Roads and Local Transport Guy Opperman MP to South Shropshire, as the Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP announced the transport funding package for rural areas.

Stuart Anderson said: “I am delighted that Shropshire will receive £136.44 million from the Local Transport Fund to deliver local projects that achieve these goals. This will ensure that local people have their voices heard on what transport projects are invested in the area – including installing a pedestrian crossing at Leebotwood. We will also be receiving £154 million to improve the conditions of our roads in Shropshire, driving economic growth and improving our public services.”

Commenting, Daniel Kawczynski MP for Shrewsbury said: “By redirecting money that would have been spent on HS2, we are already seeing more investment in local transport in Shrewsbury, including more money to fill potholes and extending the £2 bus fare cap.

“People rely on local transport connections every day, and it is essential that we get the investment we need to keep us moving. This additional funding will significantly impact our local transport infrastructure, which I know matters so much to our community.

“Meanwhile, Labour would put this at risk as they don’t have a plan to improve local transport – they can’t even say if they back our plan to reallocate HS2 savings into local transport improvements.

“Working with the Conservative Government, we are levelling up Shrewsbury and transforming how people travel, as part of our long-term plan to invest in the things that matter most to local people and build a brighter future for everyone.”

Simon Baynes, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North Shropshire, said:

“By redirecting money that would have been spent on HS2, we are already seeing more investment in local transport in North Shropshire, including more money to fill potholes and extending the £2 bus fare cap.

“People rely on local transport connections every day, and it is essential that we get the investment we need to keep us moving. This additional funding will make a such difference to our local transport infrastructure which I know matters so much to our community.

“Meanwhile Labour would put this at risk as they don’t have a plan to improve local transport – they can’t even say if they back our plan to reallocate HS2 savings into local transport improvements.

“Working with the Conservative Government, we are levelling up North Shropshire and transforming how people travel, as part of our long-term plan to invest in the things that matter most to local people and build a brighter future for everyone.”

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