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, 23 March 2017


In the next few years we will see significant improvements in our rail links to the rest of the country. All of this is set out in the twenty year plan submitted to government last October, and well received by ministers.
In 2018 we will get the new Hitachi trains which will be a vast improvement on current locomotives and rolling stock. More comfortable, faster, smoother.

By 2020 (pushing it a bit) Plymouth should have a brand new station which will at last create an attractive gateway to our city, in time for the Mayflower 400 celebrations. The joint venture with Plymouth University should see the back of the eyesore office block which blights that location.

In the meantime, the rail franchise for our region will be up for renewal and the government will require the successful applicant to deliver far better on-board connectivity for mobile phones and Wi-Fi, which is crucial for business users and makes the journey shorter for all travellers. Part of the problem is the lack of phone masts in areas of Somerset and Wiltshire which does not provide the signal infrastructure that on-board connectivity demands. GWR and other potential bidders are talking to service providers about tackling this.

In the meantime, millions is being spent on resilience work at Dawlish to ensure that we do not see our vital rail link severed in the future. Work is starting on designing a long term solution to this structural fragility on Brunel's chosen route.

These improvements are welcome because apart from continued upgrading of the A30 in Cornwall and the dualling of the A303, little major advances to our road network can be anticipated in the foreseeable future. Nor is a commercial airport in Plymouth ever going to fly. 

One activity which is transforming our region is the steady roll out of superfast broadband. This means that many bright young entrepreneurs are setting up their internet based businesses in this idyllic part of the world and changing the face of our local economy.
We should be very grateful to the excellent Plymouth University for the quality of students it is attracting to study here, many of whom are choosing to stay and work.

This is one reason why unemployment is now historically very low in the Plymouth travel to work area. We are beginning to achieve our potential.

No one is complacent but, after many years of pressure we are starting to see progress.

posted by Gary @ 09:35