It’s the North’s turn for funding, says MP Robert Goodwill over A64

Robert Goodwill MP. PIC:Gary Longbottom
Robert Goodwill MP. PIC:Gary Longbottom

Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill has said it is time the Government invested in the North, and in particular the A64.

Last week we reported the road had been left out of £25 billion roads investment, announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party conference.

However, Mr Goodwill said the road would not have been included in the announcement as that investment was for Major Road Network projects.

The A64 is still being considered for the Roads Investment Strategy 2, which will be revealed in November.

“You can’t read anything into it either way,” he said.

The MP explained analysis had increased the cost of the proposed dualling of the road.

He said: “Their [Highways England] analysis indicated the amount of traffic expected to use the road if it were to be dualled and they’ve realised there’s quite a lot of people that go out of their way to avoid the A64.

“So traffic that has previously used rat runs and alternate routes would then be on the road.”

Due to this, flyovers would be needed at several junctions for traffic to safely exit the dual carriageway.

“This will increase the cost and that has pushed it into a different category of project,” said the MP.

In April Highways England downgraded their assessment of the need and value for money of improvements from Hopgrove to Barton Hill from medium to low ranking due to the higher costs.

Mr Goodwill said the low value assessment was in part based on figures that should be taken “with a pinch of salt”.

“They will not take into account any untypical days such as bank holidays,” he said.

“It would be a mistake to only look at a typical Monday morning when deciding whether or not to fund the project and the Department for Transport know that.”

In September, alongside Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, Mr Goodwill – a former transport minister – met with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Roads Minister Baroness Vere to discuss the scheme.

He said: “Kevin and I are continuing to keep up the pressure and the department are well aware of issues with the A64.”

Following the £25 billion roads funding last week, several prominent figures in the district expressed their disappointment, though Mr Goodwill remains optimistic the A64 project will go ahead.

He stated the importance of the Government investing in infrastructure in the North of England, particularly if the idea of a Northern Powerhouse is to come to fruition.

He said: “They also need to look at the geographical mix of the projects they’re doing.

“You can make a better case for roads in London and the South East – but they’ve had their share.

“When they talk about the Northern Powerhouse, if we want to encourage investment in the North we need to make sure the infrastructure is there to support it.”

In a poll conducted by The Scarborough News last week, 98 per cent of respondents thought the A64 needs improving.

When asked if the Government should be investing in the dualling of the road, 99 per cent of people that responded said yes.

Just under 70 per cent of people asked used the road either daily or monthly and 92.8 per cent thought the road had a negative impact on Scarborough’s economy.