Traffic (Town Centres)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd November 1992.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid 12:00 am, 23rd November 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit mid-Staffordshire to assess the effect of traffic on town centres.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

My right hon. Friend has no plans to visit mid-Staffordshire at present. But I shall be in the west midlands on 16 December listening to the views of all the local authorities on traffic problems in their areas.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

Is my hon. Friend aware of the huge traffic build-up that occurs when travelling north and south on the A51 through Rugeley and Brereton? Is he aware of the even more desperate need of a bypass in Stone, which is an ancient and beautiful market town?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

My hon. Friend has pressed clearly on me the need for a bypass in Stone. I well understand his argument. We shall make an announcement shortly on our backing for local authority schemes in the coming year. I can assure my hon. Friend that I shall listen carefully to the clear expression of his constituents' views.

I understand the need for a bypass in Rugeley. Our bypass programme is substantial. The Government have included 130 bypasses in the present programme, and there are dozens more bypasses in the local roads programme. So my hon. Friend speaks for many other constituents besides his own.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Denton and Reddish

Does the Minister accept that the problems of mid-Staffordshire are replicated throughout much of the midlands and the north-west of England because people are switching from rail travel to roads as a result of the poor quality of service on the west coast main line? Is it not essential to get the new rolling stock for the west coast main line as quickly as possible? Would not investment in railways be much better than putting one or two extra bypasses here and there, because investment in the railways would help the whole country?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Carlisle Mr Kenneth Carlisle , Lincoln

The hon. Gentleman's question is far from the subject of this question. We have a balanced programme with a substantial investment in railways. The hon. Member would do well if he could press the claims of his constituents as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) presses for his.