Works to improve the A64 ‘urgently needed’

A North Yorkshire MP is stepping up a campaign to win millions of pounds to upgrade a notorious stretch of road which is a known accident blackspot between Leeds and Scarborough.

Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, is pressing leaders of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for North and East Yorkshire, together with those of York, Ryedale and Scarborough and Hambleton District Councils and North Yorkshire County Council to take a new plea for an early decision on proposals to spend £50m on the A64 which links the Yorkshire Coast to the A1, M1 and M62.

Local businesses will also be involved in her campaign to upgrade the road, said Ms McIntosh. “Road safety needs to be improved and congestion reduced across the whole of the route of the A64 from Leeds to Scarborough.

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“Money will become available from the Local Growth Fund from next year for road improvements. The support of the LEP and local authorities as well as businesses is absolutely imperative to ensure the earliest possible start of this project to lead to the upgrading of the A64.”

She added: “I shall be pressing for an early decision from the LEP for the A64 to benefit as a major artery for economic development and to improve road safety and reduce congestion.

“It also has a serious accident record, with many fatalities over the years which has resulted in the area coroner repeatedly calling for action,” said Ms McIntosh.

Further support for improvements to the road, which has one of the worst serious accident records of any major rural route in the north of England, has come from the deputy leader of Scarborough Council, Coun Derek Bastiman.

“The road carries heavy traffic year-round because of the growing number of businesses in both the Ryedale and Scarborough areas, as well as our increasing tourist industry. Improving the trunk road will not only benefit existing enterprises but help considerably in attracting new investment in our districts and I welcome Ms McIntosh’s initiative.”

He has also met Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlan, to underline the importance not only of a better cross-country trunk road in the A64, but the upgrading of the Trans-Pennine rail link. “It is vital that the direct route between Scarborough and Liverpool should continue and be enhanced, and not see passengers having to change trains at York as has been suggested. Good rail links are not only vital economically for our area but make good common sense in terms of climate change.”

Mr McLoughlan has agreed to investigate the situation adding that the regional LEP was in a position to influence prioritising road schemes.

Meanwhile, the county council’s transport, economy and environment scrutiny committee is meeting leaders of the Government’s Highways Agency shortly to add its support for the A64 improvements.

Councils in the area have already asked for £50m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund – designed to help local economies – to help pay for a series of schemes along the route. North Yorkshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and York councils are behind the bid which, if approved, would support the widening of the road at pinch points and in some cases additional dualling.