HC Deb 21 February 1994 vol 238 cc10-1
10. Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with Hereford and Worcester county council or Wychavon district council about the proposed western and northern Wyre Piddle bypasses.

Mr. Key

No such discussions have been requested. However, I discussed the bypass schemes with my hon. Friend last November.

Mr. Luff

Does my hon. Friend recognise that, against the background of a rather disappointing transport supplementary grant settlement for Hereford and Worcester, there is very real pleasure among the residents of Wyre Piddle—a village which derives its name from the Piddle brook—at my hon. Friend's repeated reassurances that the northern bypass will be eligible for transport supplementary grant? Does he recognise, however, that there is equal disappointment among those same residents and the residents of Pershore in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Mr. Spicer) that the western bypass, which is a strategic road, is not recognised as such by his Department?

Mr. Key

I am sure that there is not half as much joy in Wyre Piddle as the residents of Puddletown and Piddletrenthide in Dorset would feel if they could get their bypasses. As I explained to my hon. Friend, the northern bypass is on the A4538, which is a road of more than local importance in through-traffic terms. The B4083, which the proposed western bypass would relieve, is a secondary road linking Pershore and Wyre Piddle. I am none the less grateful for the continuing representations on behalf of the inhabitants of those delightful villages and will always be ready to discuss them with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Flynn

Does the Minister agree that progress on both the northern and the western Wyre Piddle bypasses —a matter of great concern to my constituents—would be accelerated if the Government adopted the imaginative policies presented today in the Labour party consultation document? Does he further agree that, were the Government not locked in their ideological straitjacket, in which they see things as just private or just public, we should have had progress both on those bypasses and on the channel link, which would not have been 10 years behind schedule as it is today?

Mr. Key

I have read that interesting fairy story. The bad news for the hon. Gentleman is that his party would slash road building of all kinds and the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff) would be terribly badly off, as they would be if we had the misfortune of any influence from the Liberal Democrat party.