Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 25 September 2014


I well remember the night back in 1980 when Jan and I drove from London to start my new job as a solicitor, back in our beloved Devon after several year's legal training in the City.  Most of our worldly possessions were crammed into the car, with Jan pregnant with our first child. Our Simca Estate (did anyone else ever own such a car?) got slower and slower as we approached Plymouth as if symbolically reflecting the one-way nature of our journey. Destiny. We drove the section of the A38 between Deep Lane and Marsh Mills at a stuttering 25 MPH in the dead of night, looking out over the bright lights of Plymouth, only for our car to expire outside our first home in West Hill Road Mutley, never to go again. We had arrived.

I think of that dramatic journey every time I travel down that same stretch of road. It is about to be transformed by the Highways Agency. Because Merafield Bridge, the bridge that carries Haye road over the dual carriageway, has concrete cancer it is going to be replaced at the cost of £6 million. Initial planning suggests the construction work might take 70 weeks.

I raised with the Highways Agency recently the concerns of the local business community and others that this project might greatly impact the main thoroughfare into Plymouth and hurt our local economy. In particular I wanted to know that the Agency will do everything possible in placing this contract to keep disruption to an absolute minimum.

The Highways team are very aware of the possible impact on us all and have been consulting Plymouth Council actively. Haye road, which is after all the main route between Plympton and Plymstock, should be largely unaffected. The A38 itself will become four lanes rather than six for the duration of the project, but the modelling by the Highway Agency suggests that the works will cause little or no delay to the A38 travelling public.

The contract has not yet been awarded and the team is currently looking at further options to shorten the duration of the works and increase the number of lanes available. This is welcome news but of course I will maintain close contact. We get used to the infrastructure that surrounds our lives and significant disruption is always troublesome.

It is also important that the gateway to Plymouth sends a strong signal that we remain open for business.

posted by Gary @ 12:00