I was pleased to recently welcome the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, to Amber Valley. I took the Secretary of State on a ‘transport tour’ to look at some of the key road and rail issues and concerns in the constituency. In particular, we discussed the need for a Codnor bypass, the ongoing problem of noise from the A38, the urgent requirement for step-free access at Alfreton and Langley Mill Stations, and a solution to allow passengers from Langley Mill to be able to use advance tickets in the absence of a ticket machine.
I know that the much-needed Codnor bypass has been a long awaited and much talked about project, so the tour was a fantastic opportunity to raise the issue with the Secretary of State, demonstrate to him first-hand the traffic and congestion problems there currently are in the area, and highlight how a bypass could also help unlock additional employment and industrial opportunities. Going forwards, I’m also working with the Borough Council and the County Council to encourage progress on this project, and pushing for the bypass to be placed at the heart of the agenda of future big infrastructure improvements in our area.
Alongside this, noise from the A38 is an ongoing problem for many constituents. So, I showed the Secretary of State a few key hotspot areas, on Amber Heights in Ripley and on Pentrich Road in Swanwick, to raise the wider issue and illustrate the problem faced by residents across Amber Valley. I’m pleased that the promised low noise tarmac is currently being installed on the A38 near Swanwick and Alfreton, which will hopefully start to alleviate the problem for some residents – please do let me know if they’ve resurfaced near you and how it’s helped. I now look forward to this resurfacing being rolled out across the rest of the A38 over the next few years – as the current surface deteriorates. In addition, I emphasised to the Transport Secretary some areas that could be helped by additional noise barriers and screening; it’s welcome that Highways England are currently designing new noise barriers for Alfreton, but I want other areas to benefit too.
Regarding rail links, we discussed the need for local rail improvements, such as easy local access to the new High Speed Rail (HS2) services, and I also took the Secretary of State to Alfreton and Langley Mill Stations to highlight the desperate need for better access to the platforms. The Transport Secretary recognised the local importance of these stations and the need for improved facilities, and I particularly stressed to him my long campaign for step-free access to all platforms rather than the current situation of the awful steep steps, which cause severe difficulties to disabled and elderly passengers, people with pushchairs, cyclists and even travellers with large luggage. The plans for a new footbridge with lifts to both platforms are scheduled for Alfreton Station in 2019, and I will maintain this pressure for the improvements to start as soon as possible.
Thank you to Chris Grayling for looking at some of these local transport infrastructure issues, and I will keep up these campaigns in the House and with the local councils to try to ensure Amber Valley’s roads and rail network can benefit from this Government’s transport investment and enhancement projects.