Cross-border cooperation needed to improve A5 and A483 - MP

Cross-border cooperation is need to get improvements to Shropshire's A5 and the A483 on the Welsh border as part of a UK-wide look at improving links between the four nations, an MP says.

The A5 near Oswestry
The A5 near Oswestry

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is setting up talks with Welsh government members and Midlands Connect to push for improvements to cross border trunk roads such as the A5 and A483.

Mr Paterson said that the nationwide Union Connectivity Review, which is looking at better transport links between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, must look at the road and rail links that cross from Shropshire into Powys and Wrexham.

The MP has been a long-time campaigner to see the A5 north of Shrewsbury to the Welsh border turned into a dual carriageway and a supporter of plans for a Pant and Llanymynech bypass.

The A483 cuts through the villages of Llanymynech and Pant, where residents have campaigned for a bypass for four decades, then joins the A5 at Oswestry.

The Oswestry bypass and Chirk bypass are major traffic bottlenecks, particularly at rush hour and in peak holiday travel times.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, who ran London's transport network during the Olympics, has been tasked with leading the Union Connectivity Review, working closely with the devolved administrations, including the Welsh Assembly to look at road, rail, air and sea links. He will look at how they could be improved to fuel the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He is expected to publish his final recommendations following the Union Connectivity Review next summer.

Mr Paterson said: "The A5 and then the A483 on onto the A55 is a hugely important link between England and Wales. The only single carriage-way section of road between London and Holyhead is through Shropshire and the Chirk bypass."

"I am working Councillor Steve Davenport from Shropshire County Council to get meetings with Midlands Connect and the Welsh Assembly to make a bid for a scheme in the connectivity review. The Welsh Assembly Transport Minister, Ken Skates, has the Chirk bypass within his patch and so is very aware of the problems of the road.

"I hope we can get funding from both sides of the border to get these improvements done."

The UK government said earlier this year that it wants to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in the devolved nations. Working with the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it said it would identify opportunities for "spades in the ground" ready projects to help build up communities and create jobs quicker for people across the United Kingdom.

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