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Star comment: It’s so vital the A5 is improved

By Toby Neal | Opinions | Published:

It might be said that the need to improve the A5 in Shropshire and into Wales is so obvious to all who drive along it that you wonder what the obstacle is in doing so.

However, the answer to that is obvious as well. It is going to cost money.

Yet those who make wise investments can save money and make money. There is a strong economic and business case to turn the road into a dual carriageway along its length running north west of Shrewsbury and up past Oswestry.

This paper is leading a campaign for that to happen and support has come from many quarters. In this respect, the more the merrier, as there needs to be a united Shropshire chorus to catch the ear of the Government.

Click here to sign our petition to dual the A5

Latest to give his backing is Graham Wynn, the chief executive of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

“Leaving London or Holyhead you drive on motorways or dual carriageways until you reach Shropshire where you are faced with miles of single carriageway road,” says Mr Wynn. “You don’t have to be an expert to realise that this is going to create a bottleneck.

“For Shropshire it is so important for inward investment. We don’t want Shropshire to be a corridor – we want it to be a thriving economic success.”

In other words, if this county is perceived by business as a place with a decent transport infrastructure, it will come here, bringing with it jobs and economic vitality.

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If, on the other hand, Shropshire is lagging behind in infrastructure, then the A5, instead of being a transport artery to pump in new economic blood on our local scene, will be like one big Shropshire bypass, and Shropshire will be a place to be seen from the windows of commercial traffic as it is delayed and slowed, and prays to get beyond Shropshire to somewhere, anywhere, with a more efficient road network.

Mr Wynn talks of the “Midlands Engine.” It is a concept Shropshire can embrace in support of its cause.

This county is the bridge between this whirring industrial, business, and economic mechanism, and Wales and beyond, which includes, through Holyhead, the Republic of Ireland - the European Union, from which the UK will soon take its leave. Giving Shropshire a decent road network will contribute to the smooth running of the “Midlands Engine”. If officialdom cannot see that it would be good for Shropshire, perhaps it can be persuaded that it is essential if there is to be a coherent overall plan for a Midland powerhouse.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of the county?s history. Lives in Telford and based at the paper?s Ketley headquarters.

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