Local Transport Board gives traffic schemes green light

Five transport schemes across Devon and Somerset have got a green light from the ‘Local Transport Board’ – the new body charged with funding major schemes in the area.

The board has given the go ahead in principle to five projects out of an initial list of 12 potential proposals selected by the Board.

The five initial schemes are:

Schemes selected for initial LTB investment / Total (millions)

  • Bridge Road widening, Exeter £4.55m
  • Derriford/ William Prance Road Junctions, Plymouth – £5.76m
  • Marsh Barton/ Edginswell railway stations – £3.00m
  • Torbay Western Corridor – £7.30m
  • Yeovil Western Corridor – £6.49m
  • Total    £27.10m

The Local Transport Boards are part of a new system set up in conjunction with local transport authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Department for Transport to allocate major scheme funding at a local level for road, rail, pedestrian and cycle schemes up to £15m.

£27.1m of funding over four years has been allocated to the Heart of the South West Local Transport Board in a surprise decision from the Department for Transport, which had previously indicated a higher figure of £40m. As a result, in some cases the entire scheme will not be able to be funded through this programme, but extra cash will be sought from the new ‘Single Local Growth Fund’, which will be drawn down through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Member of the Local Transport Board and Devon County Councillor, Andrew Leadbetter said: “ The original allocation would have been far outstripped by the number of schemes that we need, so we were deeply disappointed by the Department’s decision to cut the funds allocated to Local Transport Boards even further.

“However, we have managed to arrive at a fair agreement where we can invest across the Heart of the South West, developing schemes that will promote growth, alleviate congestion and encourage inward investment.

“Clearly though we need to step up the pressure through our political and LEP channels to ensure that the Heart of the South West receives a fair share of funding for transport in the future.

“It is apparent that the Government’s priorities have been focused on the South East, North West and Midlands, with Crossrail, HS2, rail electrification and motorway widening. But in the South West we face a double challenge of managing development as well as improving resilience. The impact of severe weather incidents has shown the failings in our network, so we are building the business case for greater government investment.  Maintaining and investing in our network is absolutely key to our economy and critical to our ability to contribute to UK plc.”