HC Deb 03 July 1995 vol 263 c7
6. Mrs. Lait

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the plans to upgrade the A21. [30122]

Mr. Watts

Progress is being made. Preparation work is continuing on three schemes to improve the A21. We continue to keep the needs of the route as a whole under review.

Mrs. Lait

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, even though it will not relieve the distress among many communities along the A21. On Thursday evening, while driving through Lamberhurst, I noticed posters saying "Bypass Now". My constituents who work in Tonbridge Wells are concerned about the economic success of that town because of its poor communications, and Hastings has the 43rd highest level of unemployment in the country, largely due to appalling communications. Can my hon. Friend give any idea of how we will finally address the problem of upgrading the A21 to a reasonable standard?

Mr. Watts

I fully recognise the strategic and economic importance of improving the A21. My hon. Friend took the trouble to explain it to me fully when I visited Hastings earlier this year, when I met local business men. The three schemes being taken forward are the section between the Tonbridge bypass and Pembury bypass, the section between Kipping's Cross and Lamberhurst and the Lamberhurst bypass itself. For the section between Kipping's Cross and Lamberhurst, we are also considering whether interim measures can be taken as part of our network enhancement programme.