Mr. T. Williams:
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what limitation there has been on the capital expenditure allowed for preliminary work on the proposed by-pass road at Doncaster; and to what extent this has delayed the start of the physical work.
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to give an assurance that it remains the policy of his Department to carry on the work on the Doncaster by-pass road in accordance with the undertaking given by his predecessor to a delegation from Yorkshire; and if the original time-table still holds good.
I know the great urgency of this scheme. The preliminary survey is now done, and I am publishing tomorrow the draft scheme for fixing the line of the by-bass. I must then, as the Statute provides, allow some months for the lodging and consideration of objections. As soon as the line is fixed, the process of land acquisition can start, and at the same time the detailed engineering plans be worked out. The time taken to acquire the land depends largely on the number of objections.
All this preparatory work on this major by-bass, with its 15 miles of dual carriageways costing some £5 million, is being pressed forward as fast as possible. No construction work can start until it is finished and the contracts let. The only expenditure in 1956–57 can therefore be on preparatory work. £4,000 has already been spent on this.
Mr. T. Williams:
Will the Minister say why it has taken so long to prepare the plans, when 18 months ago we were informed by the appropriate surveyor that all the preliminary work could be completed within 12 months?
I think the local authorities and hon. and right hon. Members interested will remember that this Doncaster by-bass was included in the large number of schemes announced in the House by my predecessor. He told all concerned, I think, that it was hoped to authorise this scheme in the series of schemes for the period 1956–60. The scheme is not behind-hand. As I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, the by-bass has had to be completely re-drawn because all the pre-war plans have now been made abortive by building development. I do not think an excessive time has been taken in this re-drawing.
Will the right hon. Gentleman press on with this scheme as fast as possible? Is he aware that the situation on the North Road, north of Doncaster, is rapidly becoming intolerable, and that there are queues every Saturday, that last Saturday in particular there was a queue nearly four miles long, and at Whitsuntide there was a queue nearly five miles long which lasted from lunchtime until early evening? Will the Minister bear in mind that this is becoming worse week by week, and will he attend to the matter as quickly as possible?