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Delivery of Transport Infrastructure Projects

Volume 688: debated on Thursday 28 January 2021

What steps his Department is taking to accelerate the delivery of transport infrastructure projects. (911498)

My Department is at the forefront of delivering plans and detail for the national infrastructure strategy, and we are using Project Speed initiatives and my acceleration unit in the delivery of infrastructure.

Duffield railway station in my constituency is expected to become busier during the next few years, as work on improvements to the A38 will make driving from Duffield to Derby very difficult. I am concerned that the platforms are not accessible for mothers with children in pushchairs, the elderly and the disabled, as the steps are steep and narrow and there are no lifts. Will the Secretary of State inform me of what plans there are to improve accessibility at Duffield railway station in the immediate future, because work on the A38 is starting very soon?

I am delighted that we are upgrading the A38. I know that my hon. Friend is a regular user of Duffield railway station. She will be pleased to know that there will most likely be further rounds of the Access for All funding, which has done so much to improve access to railway stations throughout the country. I look forward to receiving an application from my hon. Friend.

My right hon. Friend is used to me bending his ear about the Toft Hill bypass, but today I am mixing it up. Last week, I held a call with residents of Whorlton, Wycliffe and the surrounding villages about the full closure of Whorlton bridge. Durham County Council has funding available for the necessary testing of the bridge’s components, but there are concerns about funding availability for the full repairs, so will the Secretary of State meet me and council officers to help to find a funding solution for the repairs of this nationally significant bridge?

I came armed to the teeth with information about Toft Hill bypass, so I am disappointed. None the less, my hon. Friend’s concerns about Whorlton bridge sound like they would be well addressed by the £4 billion levelling-up fund that we recently announced. We look forward to hearing from her when that fund becomes available. Of course, I would be happy either to meet my hon. Friend myself or to arrange for my roads Minister to do the same.

I am delighted that the progress on my bid for the restoring your railway fund means that feasibility studies at Ansdell station are soon to begin, bringing the doubling of services on the South Fylde line closer than ever before. With more passengers on the line ending their journeys or transferring at Preston, which is already a busy station, what plans are in place to increase platform capacity at Preston station?

I know that my hon. Friend has been campaigning tirelessly on this issue. It is fantastic that these Beeching reversals, with the restoring your railway bids, are helping to improve Ansdell. Increasing platform capacity is part of the proposals for Preston, which include extending platforms 3 and 4 and removing platforms 3c and 4c. I know my hon. Friend already knows that, but it is very exciting and I congratulate him on all the work that he has done to bring the issue forward for his community.