10 Feb MPs meet with Transport Secretary to discuss Gateway2Growth campaign
A new junction on the M4 could be a reality sooner than first thought after an “encouraging” meeting between MPs and the Government’s transport chief.
South Gloucestershire MPs Chris Skidmore, Jack Lopresti and Luke Hall, met with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on Wednesday 20 January to push the case for building Junction 18a at Emersons Green.
Kingswood MP Mr Skidmore said the Transport Secretary was keen to push the four councils of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath NES, working with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, to apply for funding from the Regional Growth Fund as soon as this April.
Mr Skidmore said that would mean, if the bid was successful, that construction could start before 2020 – earlier than campaigners originally planned.
“I was hugely encouraged by the meeting and his reaction,” said the Conservative.
“Ministers can be quite guarded but he sent officials away to look into it further.”
He said Mr McLouglin explained that the RGF, a total pot of £450m, would consider an application as long as the four councils and the LEP were all on-board.
Luke Hall, MP for Thornbury and Yate, said South Gloucestershire had been “left behind” when it came to road improvements.
“We explained to Mr McLoughlin that people are waiting an hour in rush hour in the mornings to get onto the ring road and that this is absolutely needed,” said Mr Hall.
“There have been some big developments, with 2,000 homes going up in Yate and 2,5000 homes in Emersons Green, but it has happened without the infrastructure development. This junction would take that congestion away and cut journey times,” added the Tory MP.
Mr Hall said the developer behind the housing development at Emersons Green had in fact left a strip of land undeveloped to allow the junction’s slip road to be built.