HC Deb 18 July 1956 vol 556 cc1202-4
37. Mr. Wilfred Paling

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how long it will take to complete the construction of the Doncaster A1 by-pass.

Mr. Watkinson

Between five and six years. The necessary statutory procedure and the acquisition of land will take two to three years and constructional work a further three years.

38. Mr. Wilfred Paling

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what schemes, other than the by-pass and the Don Bridge, are being considered for the purpose of dealing with the traffic congestion in and around Doncaster.

Mr. Watkinson

I have recently made a grant towards the cost of improving the junction of North Bridge Road (Route Al) and Trafford Street, and this scheme when completed, together with the new bus station now under construction over the River Cheswold and the proposed one-way traffic system in the High Street, should relieve congestion very considerably. I hope also to be able to authorise this year a small scheme in St. James Street.

Mr. Paling

Has the Minister ever looked into the possibility of creating a diversionary road where roads already exist some miles north of Doncaster? Is he aware that this traffic is getting worse every week? Is he aware that last Saturday there was a queue nearly a mile and a half long before 9 o'clock in the morning, and a few hours later it was at Woodlands, between four and five miles long? The R.A.C. patrol man said it was the worst he had ever seen. Will the Minister see if it is possible for at least the lighter kinds of cars to be diverted in order to give some relief?

Mr. Watkinson

Certainly I will look into that suggestion very carefully. I think that Doncaster at the moment is getting its fair share of attention, but if there is anything we can do to hold the position in the next year or so we will do it.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if this by-pass is not to be completed short of six years from now all the traffic will have come to a complete stop long before that time?

Mr. Watkinson

Perhaps the right hon. Member can tell me how he would propose to purchase land other than through the normal statutory procedure.

Captain Waterhouse

Has my right hon. Friend had a survey made of the roads many miles north of Doncaster in order to see whether at comparatively small expense it would be possible to make a material improvement?

Mr. Watkinson

I flew over Doncaster a few days ago to look at the town. On the way to Newcastle I looked at it from the air. I think there is something in what hon. Members have said. I will look into it.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the congestion in and around Doncaster is by far the worst in the whole of the British Isles? Will he and his Department do everything they can and use all the pressure they can to speed some solution of this problem, particularly in view of what must be a stupendous economic loss resulting from the hold up of traffic?

Mr. Watkinson

I quite agree with the right hon. Member. Doncaster is a very bad town—[Laughte.]—I mean a bad town in the sense of traffic congestion. I will see what I can do to provide some temporary diversion.

Mr. Holmes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that now during race week traffic is diverted and directed by Barmby Dun and Armthorpe? If that can be done at this time it could be done at other times.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Does not the time taken to acquire land for these by-passes, normally two or three years, indicate that we should now try to find a new procedure for the acquisition of land?

Mr. Watkinson

I have recently looked at the procedure for acquiring land for these roads because I shall be acquiring a very great deal of land in the next few years. I am satisfied that if we are to give the owners the right to object we cannot shorten the procedure.

Mr. Stokes

Has it ever occurred to Her Majesty's Government to introduce a thoroughgoing tax on land values, which would remove the obstructionists?