The campaign for a new M49 junction in South Gloucestershire has received a major boost.
It comes after a high-level ‘City Deal’ was agreed ‘in principle’ between the government and the four West of England local authorities, which includes South Gloucestershire Council.
The deal would see the West of England authorities allowed to retain 100 per cent of the growth in business rates tax-take across the five West of England ‘Enterprise Areas’ of major new job growth – three of which are at Filton, Emersons Green and Severnside in South Gloucestershire.
This is set to contribute funding to a £1bn West of England Development Fund to spend on new infrastructure, including a new M49 junction as part of a wider £84.2m investment package for the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area.
The ‘City Deal’ claims that this will unlock one of the largest economic development areas in the country – which already has planning permission dating back to 1957 – and deliver in excess of 10,000 new jobs in large scale manufacturing and distribution.
Cllr Robert Griffin, (Con, Pilning & Severn Beach) who has been leading the campaign for a new M49 junction to serve the Severnside area, has welcomed the news:
“As a community, this is a massive step forward for our M49 junction campaign because we have been arguing for years that we should not be left with a giant regional distribution hub, but with no immediate access to the motorway network.”
“A new motorway junction is really the only way to tackle the increasing level of HGV and commuter traffic along both the A403 and more local roads, including through Easter Compton and Pilning, which is resulting from the ever-expanding local distribution parks that makes use of this controversial 1957 planning permission.”
“There’s still a long way to go before a new junction is actually in place, but sorting out how it was to be funded was always going to be the hardest part.”
“We now seem to have an answer to this, which is hugely encouraging.”
The council’s Core Strategy future development blueprint – which has recently been examined in public by an independent planning inspector – reaffirms the need for a new M49 junction, as well as other local road changes, such as a new spine road which it is anticipated would become the realigned A403 – part of which has already been constructed.
More info: Bristol City Region ‘City Deal’ (Cabinet Office) [PDF, 477kB]
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council