Cheltenham MP admits he is unable to back vital scheme to fix A417 Missing Link

Martin Horwood

Martin Horwood

First published in Cotswolds news by

A CAMPAIGN urging the government to part with more £200million to fix the notorious A417 missing link has been thrown into jeopardy after a Cheltenham MP has refused to give it his backing.

Thousands of people across Gloucestershire have already put their name to the scheme that is calling for a dual carriageway to replace the problematic stretch of single-lane road between Nettleton Bottom and Birdlip.

However, the campaign, which called for unanimous support from all of the county’s politicians, now lies in turmoil after Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, said he was unable to lend his support to the scheme in its current guise.

“I don’t think it is any secret that I do have real concerns about the environmental impact of the brown route solution, but I am very conscious about the safety issues on this stretch of the road and something must be done,” he said.

Mr Horwood explained that, while he doesn’t want to stand in the way of the scheme, the impact of building a new dual carriageway in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty needs to be “borne in mind”.

Used by more than 34,000 vehicles every day, the five kilometre road has become synonymous with bottleneck delays, congestion and fatal accidents.

Since 1998 there have been 11 fatalities on the road, three of which occurred in the space of eight hours last November.

The scheme has already received cross party support from councillors sitting on both Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council.

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said he was “disappointed” that Mr Horwood had chosen to buck the trend.

He told the Standard that the Secretary of State for Transport insisted that the plan would only go ahead if there was “a united political will around one particular solution”.

“Patrick McLoughlin made clear that if we can this, the substantial road improvement would be carried out in the period between 2015 and 2020,” he said.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Lib Dem MP hopeful for the Cotswolds, said that Mr Horwood wants a solution to the A417 problems just as much as anybody else.

“He has some reservations over the Loop scheme just as I have had some, but I am backing it because it gives us the best chance to get the issues sorted out. I won’t rest until we get this solved,” he said.

To back the campaign, visit www.a417missinglink.co.uk.

Comments (6)

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8:08am Thu 13 Mar 14

Tomdog says...

To some extent Martin Horwood is correct we need to look at the impact of the scheme on the environment and the long term rather than throwing £200 million to a scheme that in 20 years time will need another solution. Lets get it right first time rather than piecemeal and have a long term solution it may cost more but worth it in the long term.
To some extent Martin Horwood is correct we need to look at the impact of the scheme on the environment and the long term rather than throwing £200 million to a scheme that in 20 years time will need another solution. Lets get it right first time rather than piecemeal and have a long term solution it may cost more but worth it in the long term. Tomdog
  • Score: 1

8:24am Thu 13 Mar 14

Iansky says...

More procrastination - how many more will be killed / injured before they find a viable solution.

As much as I have concerns for the environment I do put the risk to human life higher up in the chain and it has been proven time and again that the current problems have cost lives and misery to many yet those in power sit on their hands, shake their heads, agree yet do nothing.

I just hope it does not take the death/injury of a member of their family before they actually fully realise the need to resolve this rather than talk with no action.

I struggle to understand how all those "experts" cannot come up with a viable solution in a timely manner..............
.must be politics!
More procrastination - how many more will be killed / injured before they find a viable solution. As much as I have concerns for the environment I do put the risk to human life higher up in the chain and it has been proven time and again that the current problems have cost lives and misery to many yet those in power sit on their hands, shake their heads, agree yet do nothing. I just hope it does not take the death/injury of a member of their family before they actually fully realise the need to resolve this rather than talk with no action. I struggle to understand how all those "experts" cannot come up with a viable solution in a timely manner.............. .must be politics! Iansky
  • Score: 0

10:59am Thu 13 Mar 14

David Broad says...

Great news, for Cheltenham Conservatives, that is. Pretty disappointing for the rest of us, but It might just be the spur Cheltenham Tories need to get out there and get a pragmatic grounded Conservative MP in place instead of Idealistic Mr Horwood who even seems to be out of step with his fellow Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates.
Great news, for Cheltenham Conservatives, that is. Pretty disappointing for the rest of us, but It might just be the spur Cheltenham Tories need to get out there and get a pragmatic grounded Conservative MP in place instead of Idealistic Mr Horwood who even seems to be out of step with his fellow Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates. David Broad
  • Score: 1

12:08pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Olly Cromwell says...

The polical consensus on this was broken by Gloucestershire's Forest of Dean Tory MP, Mark Harper, who wants the massive infrastructure spend to go on a THIRD Severn Crossing.
The polical consensus on this was broken by Gloucestershire's Forest of Dean Tory MP, Mark Harper, who wants the massive infrastructure spend to go on a THIRD Severn Crossing. Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 2

8:42am Fri 14 Mar 14

Iansky says...

Meanwhile - more accidents / more injuries / more misery.

Another case of thoes who probably do not use the road very often or face the problems taking an "out of sight, out of mind attitude".

Lets get some politicinas with backbone who put life before land rather than these flamboyant flimsy flag wavers.
Meanwhile - more accidents / more injuries / more misery. Another case of thoes who probably do not use the road very often or face the problems taking an "out of sight, out of mind attitude". Lets get some politicinas with backbone who put life before land rather than these flamboyant flimsy flag wavers. Iansky
  • Score: 2

4:49pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Col Mustard says...

Martin Horwood MP Cheltenham silent on Rennard and the Dodgy Donation to the LIbDems but speaks out on the A417 issue...... Best not rock the boat.......never mind its bye bye to the Libdems now more in danger of extinction than badgers....
Martin Horwood MP Cheltenham silent on Rennard and the Dodgy Donation to the LIbDems but speaks out on the A417 issue...... Best not rock the boat.......never mind its bye bye to the Libdems now more in danger of extinction than badgers.... Col Mustard
  • Score: -3

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