HC Deb 04 May 1966 vol 727 cc1609-10
26. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Minister of Transport whether she will make a statement of the proposed works on the A604 between Colchester and Harwich, including the bypass of Dovercourt.

Mr. Swingler

Four future schemes which Essex County Council, the highway authority, have in mind are the Poplar Hall diversion, Wix bypass, an improve- ment between Poplar Hall and Wix and the Elmstead Market bypass. Grant has been issued for the Poplar Hall diversion, but the remaining schemes have not yet been programmed. A diversion at Clingoe Hall has been programmed. The county council has yet made no formal proposals for a bypass of Dovercourt.

Mr. Ridsdale

In view of the lack of urgency on the part of the Government on this matter, will the Minister see a deputation consisting of the Chairman of the Eastern Region of British Railways and the heads of the private port of Harwich and myself to discuss this question?

Mr. Swingler

There is no lack of urgency. As I have said, several schemes are now in hand. We are awaiting proposals on others and we realise that they are very important. My right hon. Friend is prepared to consider representations from hon. Members at any time, but a fairly considerable programme of road improvements in East Anglia is now going forward.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Would not the Minister accept that in her rolling programme the amount of money being made available for East Anglia, per head of population, is one of the lowest amounts in the country—and this against the background of an area where there is oil and gas nearby in the North Sea, the prospects of trade with the Common Market, and a great population increase?

Mr. Swingler

The density population is only one of the factors which we have to take into account. We have to assess existing traffic volumes, prospects for future economic development and other factors. These are the factors which we are now analysing in relation to East Anglia. The priorities there are based on that assessment.