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Cumbria's MPs Urged To Become 'One Voice' For Local Roads Investment

Cumbria County Council's leader is calling on the county's six MPs to mount a joint case for investment in local roads.

Rather than fighting solely for a scheme in their constituency, Stewart Young is urging them to look at the county as a whole and go to Westminster with a united Cumbrian voice.

It comes as Conservative county councillors have also called on local politicians to put aside political differences and present a united front in order to win support for key infrastructure schemes.

Both Mr Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, and James Airey, Conservative Group leader, have both written separately to all of Cumbria's MPs urging a new approach.

Mr Young said that in the coming months, the Government will be developing a national road investment strategy.

In his letter, he sets out nine key road schemes that he wants them to lobby for.

Among the schemes listed as being of greatest strategic importance in Mr Young's letter are:

- A590 improvements - package of measures to improve the route, including additional dualling and passing lanes

- Ulverston Bypass - strategic bypass of the town to improve links to manufacturing and energy clusters and boost future growth

- Kendal Northern Access Route - new northern link between the A6 and A591, supporting growth and reducing congestion in the town

- A595/A66 improvements - package of measures to improve the route west of the M6, including better junctions, climbing lanes and bypasses

He said these have been drawn up by the county council in association with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), saying they have been "identified as being of greatest strategic importance".

Mr Young adds: "While Cumbria County Council and Cumbria LEP will continue to promote these strategic schemes, it would clearly be helpful to have the support of all six of the county's MPs.

"I would be happy to arrange a briefing for you all where we could discuss how we could work together to maximise our chances of securing much-needed investment in our infrastructure."

Mr Airey's letter, published today, has also been sent to the six MPs, along with all parish, district and county councillors, plus other key stakeholders, including the business and tourism industry.

A motion has also been put forward by Conservative councillor Matt Brereton ahead of next Thursday's full council meeting, calling on members to work together to lobby Central Government.

It says: "This council calls upon all political groups and stakeholders to agree a concerted plan of action to promote and escalate the case for investing in our county.

"This council acknowledges that progress to date has been slow and that now is the time to put aside party politics and work together."

Mr Aireys' letter calls for an endorsement of this resolution, adding that Cumbria has to work together if it is to attract the funds it needs.

He said: “For too long in Cumbria our elected officials have been at loggerheads while pots of government money go untapped, and that’s not good enough.

"The Government is deciding how to spend money in the periods 2020-2025 and 2025-2030, so if we can’t get everyone in the county pulling in the same direction we do risk missing out for decades to come.

“We need to present a united front to properly serve the needs of the people of Cumbria, and that means putting aside political differences. Petty posturing and point-scoring isn’t going to get new roads built or secure much-needed investment."

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