HC Deb 01 February 1961 vol 633 cc971-2
42. Mr. Montgomery

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will reconsider his decision and allow the conversion of the Newcastle to Tynemouth coast road into a dual carriageway to be included in the 1961–62 programme.

67. Mr. McKay

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that the Northumberland county authorities wish to go ahead at once with the planning of the coast road from Newcastle to Walls-end and Tynemouth; if, in order to enable the authorities to do this, he will make a decision regarding the width for the dual carriageway to allow for the two roads, a central reservation and two footpaths as speedily as possible; and when a decision may be expected.

Mr. Hay

We are aware of the importance of this project, which is one of those proposed by the committee of local authorities in the Tyneside conurbation for starting in 1961–62. We hope shortly to be able to let the local authorities know what programme we can accept for next year, and also our views on the proposed dimensions of this road which are at present being examined by our engineers.

Mr. Montgomery

Is my hon. Friend aware that this road is the most accident-prone traffic artery in the whole of the country? Will he, therefore, in the interests of road safety, please use a sense of urgency in his Department and reconsider this whole matter so that the local authorities can get on with the work at the earliest possible opportunity?

Mr. Hay

My hon. Friend's supplementary question might have been appropriate if I had said that we were not going to do this scheme. I said in my original Answer that we are hoping to let them know in a very short time. I hope they will have patience for a few more days.

Mr. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that one of the difficulties we have in attracting new industries to the North-East is the inadequacy of our communications generally, and that this coast road from Newcastle is one of the major factors? It would be a tremendous help to those of us who are trying to attract new industries to the area if he would co-operate over the dual carriageway.

Mr. Hay

It is precisely because we do appreciate the importance of road communications in this area that we have now received a 20-year programme from the Conurbation Sub-Committee so that we may know exactly where we may be able to go over the next few years.