John Penrose MP’s full letter to the Transport Minister about why he should turn down a funding bid for the A38 Corridor

I have just been sent a letter by Cllr James Tonkin, the Executive Member for Transport at North Somerset Council, which explains the plans for the A38 corridor between Sandford and Bristol Airport have been approved by the Western Gateway Sub-National Transport Body (STB). I have already written to your predecessor on several occasions explaining why this project is both uneconomic compared to better-value alternatives, as well as hugely unpopular with local residents. It featured heavily in May’s local election results, which saw almost all the incumbents in nearby wards replaced by new Councillors who featured the issue heavily in their campaigns, and pledged to listen more closely to local residents’ views than their predecessors.

So you can imagine my dismay to discover that, far from changing tack on the single most unwanted and unpopular facet of the Joint Spatial Plan, it has now become the major strategic priority of the newly-formed Great Western STB. This is not only a serious breach of faith by newly-elected local Councillors, who promised the opposite just two months ago. It also depends on significant levels of Government funding.

As I mentioned in my previous letters, I would encourage you to turn this application down immediately, and tell the STB to think again. You can save the Government and yourself a great deal of grief from local residents and from me, and free up funding for other projects with far stronger local support and better business cases as well. 

Yours sincerely,

John Penrose

MP for Weston-super-Mare