With the Tour de France almost within touching distance of us, the whole of the Eastern region will have benefited from the television coverage worldwide, which showed off our towns, villages and countryside to best effect.
This interest may mean new business and jobs, so we need to be thinking about our infrastructure once again.
Richard Fuller MP and myself are joining forces with Jonathan Djanogly MP, together with councillors and councils, to urge greater consideration of the dualling of the A428 from Caxton Gibbet to the Black Cat, and to think more long term about related transport issues, from the A1 to rail.
We expect 20,000 new homes in the Bedfordshire/Cambridge corridor, and moving people around will be key. Already our unemployment is low – last month JSA claimants in my constituency fell to just 1.7% of the workforce, with better job chances for both older and younger applicants – but if this is to continue, we need not only jobs here, but the ability for people to find them within easy reach.
Roads attract a lot of attention. The A1, with its roundabouts almost uniquely placed in Bedfordshire, causes frustration. Beeston is cut off from Sandy. I think a chance was missed many years ago to re-line it, but I cannot see that is an easy option now, and there would be much opposition to a new route.
HGVs at New Road in Sandy should not cross the road, campaigners are right about that. But I worry about the right of any vehicle at all to cross the A1 through the gaps in the road. However I’m told there is local demand for cars crossing. Is that right? One day a car nipping across is going to be caught in the middle of the road.
Black Cat’s current repairs are only a plaster over a wound – and I have no illusion that they are the final article. It must become grade separated as soon as resources allow.
Transport has played a role in Bedfordshire’s past.It is likely to be more important to our future.