Oral Answers to Questions — Ellesmere Port Motorway

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Hon. Peter Morrison Hon. Peter Morrison , City of Chester 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce his decision on the Ellesmere Port Motorway Southern Section (Little Stanney to Hoole Village Motorway Extension) which was the subject of a public inquiry in January 1974.

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Kelvingrove

As indicated in the Written Answer I gave on 11th December—[Vol. 883, c. 160]—a decision will be given as soon as possible; but my right hon. Friend is not yet ready to set a date for an announcement.

Photo of Hon. Peter Morrison Hon. Peter Morrison , City of Chester

Will the Minister say why there has been such a long delay over this matter? Is he aware that any further delay will make life very difficult, if not impossible, for some of my constituents?

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Kelvingrove

The hon. Gentleman will realise that the inspector's report was received only last September by the regional office. This is a very complicated inquiry involving not just the M531 but the junction with the M56. My right hon. Friend hopes to make a decision very soon. I cannot give an actual date but I can assure the House that a decision will be made very soon.

Mr. Bates:

Will my hon. Friend tell the House how much this new piece of motorway will cost? Does he accept that my constituents in Ellesmere Port would much rather see the money spent on new housing in Ellesmere Port than on this piece of motorway? If the Secretary of State decides to give the go-ahead for the motorway, will he ensure that there is proper control over the contractors so that the constituents of the hon. Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Morrison) do not have to suffer the delay, distress and danger which my constituents have suffered and are suffering, and about which I have written to my hon. Friend?

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I have my hon. Friend's letter and I shall be replying to it. The question whether the best way to spend money is on motorways or on housing is a matter for the Government in their general overall policy. I can assure my hon. Friend that a motorway project is undertaken only when it is fully expected to give a good return for the capital investment involved.