The petition of residents of Toft Hill,
Declares that the A68 that runs through Toft Hill is unsuitable and unsafe for the volume and nature of vehicles, especially HGV Lorries; and further that the proximity of the primary school and proposed future development in the village would make this stretch of road more dangerous to local residents.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Transport to priorities a new relief road to alleviate the problems faced by residents of Toft Hill.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Helen Goodman, Official Report, 23 January 2018; Vol. 635, c. 238.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman):
The Government have provided significant amounts of funding for local road improvements, including the Department for Transport’s £475 million Large Local Major Schemes Fund and the £12 billion Local Growth Fund available to Local Enterprise Partnerships. Both of these funds can be accessed by local authorities for road improvements such as bypasses, but before applying the local authorities are expected to undertake the initial development of a business case to show the scheme is feasible and offers value for money.
The A68 through Toft Hill forms part of the local road network, which in this location is the responsibility of Durham County Council. As such, it would be for Durham County Council to decide if the road is unsuitable and unsafe for the volume of traffic it carries and whether a business case should be developed.
The Department for Transport intends to create a Major Road Network to tackle bottlenecks and traffic jams on the country’s busiest “A” roads. This will see up to £100 million available for individual enhancement schemes on the new network. Improvements on the Major Road Network will be funded from the National Roads Fund, which from 2020 will be paid for by Vehicle Excise Duty.
A consultation on the creation of this Major Road Network is currently under way and closes on 19 March 2018. The consultation sets out proposals for defining the new network, how investments will be planned, and how proposed investments will be assessed. The A68 through Toft Hill is not included in the indicative Major Road Network, which was published alongside the consultation, as it does not meet the proposed criteria for Major Roads. However, the purpose of the consultation is to gather views on the Department’s proposals and, if stakeholders feel there be made for the A68, they should respond to the consultation.