Response to concerns about the A64 dualling scheme
A meeting of the A64 Growth Partnership was convened at Kingspan’s Sherburn Office on 5 July 2019 in response to concerns about the A64 dualling scheme between Hopgrove roundabout and Barton Hill being at risk of not receiving the Department for Transport funding required to proceed.
Members of the partnership including businesses, local councils, Transport for the North and Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton came together to hear from representatives from Highways England regarding the current situation with the A64 dualling business case.
Highways England have developed the business case for the A64 scheme for potential delivery in the Department for Transport’s Roads Investment Strategy 2 (2020-2025). Initial estimated costs were in the region of £100-250m and the feasibility study investigated options for grade separation of the Hopgrove Roundabout and dualling of a section of the A64 from the Hopgrove Roundabout to Barton Hill. However, there are a number of key scheme specific impacts that have resulted in the scheme being identified as low value for money (with a 1.0-1.5 Benefit to Cost Ratio). These include archaeological risks, the requirement for grade separated junctions along the route due to induced traffic and the fact that recreational users/tourists do not carry the same weighting as commuters in Benefit Cost Ratio calculations.
Highways England representatives advised that the Department for Transport has been appraised of the current position ahead of a decision on the Road Investment Strategy 2 which is expected be taken in autumn 2019.
In response to the Highways England presentation partnership members raised a number of challenges to the scheme assessment including the need to take into account the A1237 York Outer Ring Road dualling scheme which is due to receive funding confirmation very soon, the importance of emphasising the impact on wider sectors including health, and also stressing the wider regional impact of the A64, for example on Bridlington and Stamford Bridge, as well as the strategic fit with the strategic transport plan for the north.
The Partnership agreed there is a need to continue to put pressure on the Department for Transport with the aim of securing the inclusion of the A64 dualling scheme in RIS2. The partnership is convening the communications sub-group to develop plans to lobby government, including submitting a letter of support for the scheme endorsed by businesses. A further meeting of the whole A64 Growth Partnership is planned to take place end of August / beginning of September.
Alongside the main agenda item of the day the election of a new Chair and Vice Chair of the partnership took place to ensure strengthened private and public sector leadership. We are pleased to announce that Tom Paulof Kingspan has been elected as Chair of the partnership and Cllr Keane Duncan, Leader of Ryedale District Council elected as Vice-Chair.
Quote from Tom Paul, Kingspan:
“The Government road and communications link/ infrastructure in our region is woeful and prevents further economic, business and employment growth. The A64 west-east road link congestion and bottlenecks are preventing and restricting further growth opportunities west of York and throughout the Ryedale and Scarborough coastal areas. The inadequate A64 road link causes major extra transportation costs, service delays and is a limiter to attracting inward business investment; this combined with negative employee recruitment for existing businesses, public sector healthcare and education activities is a barrier to growth in the area.
Our region already has one of the lowest GDP and highest poverty levels within the UK and we urgently require all of the help that central and Local Government regeneration support can secure. The first step to secure the opportunity of further regional growth is to upgrade the existing A64 congested road link which “is not fit for purpose” for today’s traffic levels, never mind any future requirements. If this is not fixed now the region will continue to decline in its spiral downwards.
The Government has a duty to provide modern and efficient road links to ensure that this region has a viable economic and prosperous future which can attract both private and public sector investment and create a better future for all. We are fed-up of London and the South East being prioritised over the North of England and we require action in this region now – get the A64 link right!”