Chesterfield, like lots of towns across the country, has issues with traffic and congestion. Everyone knows that the Derby Road has huge problems with congestion and traffic, particularly at peak times or when the M1 is busy. The main road through Clay Cross and into Chesterfield from the south of the constituency is now massively busy, over-congested and a burden on people and businesses getting around their daily business in our area. On the other side of town, we've been waiting for a by-pass from Brimington to Staveley for nearly a century.
Of course none of this is new. When I was growing up in Chesterfield twenty years ago the Derby Road was busy and often difficult to get up and down. More recently, this has got even worse - estimates from the Department for Transport suggest traffic has grown by around ten percent in the last few years. A long time ago, there was talk of a spur off to the motorway or even a dual carriageway down from the Horns Bridge roundabout to try to improve the situation. None of these solutions have gotten very far. Some small changes are currently being made, including the creation of new roundabouts to get on and off the Derby Road but the key issue - too much traffic and not enough road space remains as bad, if not worse, than it always was.
In the north of the town, the entrance to the future by-pass has been present for years next to Sainsburys and, if successful, could see thousands of jobs and new houses being unlocked to regenerate Staveley. At the moment, however, traffic has to wind through Brimington to get out to the east of the town.
To start the conversation off on Derby Road, I recently brought the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to Chesterfield to see the issues of the Derby Road himself. We took Chris to Clay Cross, Tupton and Wingerworth to demonstrate the pinch points, congestion and the traffic which local residents see on a daily basis. I've also had extensive discussions on the Staveley by-pass and raised the matter in Parliament.
There is no magic bullet to solving Derby Road or obtaining the funds for the Staveley by-pass. What we have missed, however, in recent years is a proper conversation about how we can improve the situation - and this is something I'm determined to change. On the A61, I want to hear from you about how you think the road can be improved - what can the Council or the Government do to make the situation better? Nothing will be easy, and it is likely to require hard choices from the community, but if we want to try to improve the situation in the next ten years, then we need to start talking about it now. Get in touch and tell me your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And on the Staveley by-pass, I will keep pushing the Government to commit to spending money to build the road.