Last Friday, a major new summit was held - bringing together politicians, business representatives, regional transport bodies, Councils and residents - to discuss the continuing work to reduce congestion on the A61 Derby Road.
Organised by Lee Rowley, MP for North East Derbyshire, and Cllr Charlotte Cupit, County Councillor for Clay Cross North, the Summit, and a subsequent second update meeting held later the same day, were designed to talk about the extensive work underway to reduce congestion on Derby Road and the big choice that the community will need to take in the coming months ahead about what solution they want to start bidding for funding for. The Summit took place at the St Barnabas Centre, Danesmoor, on Friday morning.
With traffic continuing to grow on the A61, Lee has made it one of his missions to try to put in place a long-term improvement plan, working with Councillors and the Councils, since his election in 2017. Despite a long-time recognition that work was needed to the road, when he was elected, there was no plan to do that and he has spent the last six years encouraging our local Councils, and others, to do the detailed work so our area can bid for funding. That has included a large-scale resident survey (2018), a full-scale traffic model of the south of Chesterfield (2019 / 2020), an options appraisal of what might help reduce congestion (2021), publication of options by the County Council (2022) and a further full-scale consultation which over 1,000 residents responded to last year.
All of that work paid off when, earlier in 2023, the County Council won funding from Midlands Connect, the East Midlands regional transport body, to develop the detail further. That work is underway at the current time and the Summit was an opportunity to go through with residents where that effort had gotten to. And, in the next few months, a decision will need to be taken on the large-scale intervention that our area should bid for when funding pots open in Westminster next year - with options including the opening of the long-mooted link road across The Avenue and others.
Commenting, Lee Rowley Stated:
'A huge thank you to the more than 100 residents who came along to the Summit and update meeting on Friday. I know that this is a key issue for residents who live to the south of Chesterfield and, along with Charlotte, we have made it our mission to make progress. These things don't happen over night and, in many other parts of the country, it is a 20 year process to get a big transport intervention funded and working.'
'We've been working to speed up that process and, by the early part of next year, we should be in a place to bid for funds to Government. The Summit was brilliant for providing feedback and insight from residents about how the Council can shape this.'
Commenting, Cllr Charlotte Cupit stated:
'Thank you to all the residents, businesses and stakeholders who joined Friday's Summit. Hopefully it was a useful opportunity for attendees to hear how work is progressing, but crucially to feed back on some of the potential options and solutions.'
'Alongside the work on a bid for a big intervention, we're also continuing to progress work and discussions on traffic flow improvements in the shorter term - including signalisation improvements and possible changes to side roads. We'll keep everyone updated over the next few months.'