HC Deb 16 March 1960 vol 619 cc1282-3
18. Sir P. Agnew

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the fact that the route of the Birmingham-Bristol motorway was selected over ten years ago, whether he will, before finally deciding this route and the siting of its junction with the Ross Spur motorway near Strensham, consider the recommendations in a recent letter sent to him from the Council for the Preservation of Rural England to the effect that, in order to preserve local amenities in the vicinity of Bredon and the Avon Valley, the motorway north and south of Strensham and the Ross Spur junction should be moved further west; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Marples

I have carefully considered the recommendations recently made by the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. For the reasons which I explained in my letter of 10th March to my hon. Friend, I should see great difficulty in accepting its proposals.

I have nothing further to add to the replies I gave my hon. Friend on 25th February.

Sir P. Agnew

If preparations are now so far advanced—though work has not yet begun—that great expense would be entailed, offsetting any saving in changing the road and also considerable delay before a new route could be devised, will my right hon. Friend direct the skill and energies of his Department to seeing how far the road south of the proposed junction could be deflected to the west in order to save something of the amenities of an incomparable valley in England?

Mr. Marples

A compulsory purchase order was published on 4th March. If there are any objections to it, there will be a public inquiry. As I shall have to make the final decision on the compulsory purchase order, I think that it would be better if I did not commit myself any further at this stage.

Mr. Ridley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are as many objections to the proposed motorway passing to the west as there are to its passing through my hon. Friend's constituency?

Mr. Marples

In this Ministry I find that there are conflicting claims. One is to build roads quickly and the other is not to take any ground for the roads.