MPs and business leaders have met with government officials in an attempt to push forward transport plans which could help to create 12,000 jobs across the region.
A roundtable meeting with senior officials from the Department for Transport and National Highways was held in Parliament yesterday, Tuesday, to discuss proposed improvements along the A50 and A500, which connects Staffordshire with the East Midlands.
The plans include nine individual improvement schemes which could reduce congestion, boost the economy and could save motorists 37 minutes a day.
Areas highlighted for improvement include where Junction 15 of the M6 meets the A500, Sideway roundabout in Stoke-on-Trent, roundabouts at Blythe Bridge and Sudbury and junctions and slip roads at Uttoxeter.
Midlands Connect, the region’s sub-national transport body which put the masterplan together, believes the route is of “national significance” and the benefits upgrades could bring to the area could be £12 billion.
Local MPs, council leaders and businesses are asking for the project to be included in the upcoming Road Investment Strategies and other schemes along the route to be included in future rounds, covering the period 2025 to 2040.
Burton and Uttoxeter MP, also Project Champion for the North Midlands Manufacturing Corridor, Kate Kniveton chaired the meeting.
She said: “My constituents will know all too well the existing problems with this vital trunk road and the impact this has on local streets and communities in and around Uttoxeter.
“An urgent intervention to move these plans along and speed the route to delivery is required.
“My local parliamentary colleagues and I will continue to bang the drum for this investment which would bring real benefits to not just my residents in Burton and Uttoxeter but for all those who use this road right across our region.”
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “This transport corridor is set to become a national hub for the manufacture of hydrogen engines for vehicles from cars to aeroplanes, in addition to plant and machinery.
“Streamlining the route will support our collective ambition to ensure it can become a global centre of excellence in this sector in the future.
“Delays along the route restrict growth, increase costs and cause significant inconvenience.”
The Globe Group CIC, an environmental not-for-profit organisation based in Uttoxeter, said last night, Tuesday, that it was pleased to hear a lot of the conversation at the meeting centred around green transport and decarbonisation.