Infrastructure investment can secure economic recovery
By Councillor Keith Girling, Nottinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Asset Management
Times have been tough for local communities of late. Cost-of-living pressures and rising inflation have tightened purse strings. Unfortunately, these economic challenges have affected our council. In response, we’ve had to look closely at how we can deliver our high-quality public services even more efficiently.
Nevertheless, we are determined to deliver on our Nottinghamshire Plan ambition for a ‘healthy, prosperous, and greener Nottinghamshire’.
To meet our agenda for a ‘prosperous’ Nottinghamshire, we’ve developed an ambitious road and rail infrastructure investment programme within our economic transition plan.
This plan will improve access to jobs, services and facilities as well as helping our businesses move goods more efficiently, which is central to our economic recovery and the national levelling up agenda.
The first part of our plan has been implemented. The Gedling Access Road opened to traffic earlier this year, providing a much-needed bypass for the local area.
Our number crunchers report that the new access road now has 7,000 vehicles daily, with traffic down on nearby local roads.
Next is a package of junction improvements along the A614/A6097 corridor including Ollerton and Lowdham.
Our planning and rights of way committee have recently approved the plans for this, which will reduce congestion, unlock development sites and encourage investment in the local area.
We are also preparing design options for a Kelham Bypass scheme, needed to alleviate the problems caused by the historic, narrow road bridge at the village near Newark.
Initial preparatory work has already been done, but there is more still to do to finalise and secure the necessary funding to deliver the scheme.
We also want the government to fund our planned Toton Link Bypass. We’ve already submitted a bid for £36m for the new link road, which will unlock opportunities for jobs, housing and investment, and we hope to hear back from Whitehall very soon.
We continue to lobby hard for the much-needed Robin Hood Line extension. We want the line extended for rail passengers to Shirebrook and Ollerton via Warsop and Edwinstowe. This scheme, along with the Maid Marion Line was identified in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan as a priority, and we are currently commissioning an updated business case to secure financial support.
Finally, we are also continuing to work with colleagues to ensure we maximise the infrastructure benefits of having a HS2 station in Nottinghamshire, the East Midlands Freeport, the East Midlands Development Corporation and the recently announced prototype fusion energy plant at West Burton. (known as STEP)