Orders affecting about thirty sideroads must be made before negotiations can be completed for purchasing the land necessary for the improvement scheme. The property required will include licensed premises, shops, dwelling-houses and a school and will involve problems of re-housing and relocation. Compulsory purchase orders may also be needed. Engineering plans and contract documents have to be prepared concurrently.
All this is agreed. Will the Minister say how many years ago this by-pass was planned and why his Department has been so dilatory in authorising the preparations for it? Also, in view of the nearly 6 per cent, unemployment in Newcastle-under-Lyme now, is not it urgent that this work should go forward immediately?
The work is going forward as fast as it can now. If the hon. Gentleman would like to have even greater details about the preparations needed, I shall be very happy to send them to him.