Work on an access route which will ease congestion and aid growth in Stafford can start as early as next April following a major government funding announcement.
Stafford’s Western Access Route will connect the A518 Newport Road with the A34 Foregate Street, significantly decreasing traffic around the town centre ring road. The government’s growth deal for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will see £16.1 million allocated to the project. In addition, business development in Staffordshire will receive a boost, with £4m allocated to the Lichfield Park employment site, £4m for the Meaford employment site near Stone and £1m for Bericote Four Ashes in South Staffordshire.
A total of £80.2m funding from the government’s growth deal will support projects from 2015/16. Projects form part of a long-term economic plan drawn up by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership and supported by the county council. The following year will see a £5m boost for local sustainable transport package, £6.9m for the area’s advanced manufacturing skills hub and £6m for business development at Branston Locks near Burton.
County council leader Philip Atkins said: “This announcement is a massive boost for Staffordshire people and business. The government’s funding level recognises the significant achievements in this county in recent years. Now we can build on this success – improving opportunities for everyone. We are already delivering on major road schemes and the Stafford Western Access Route will aid growth in an expanding county town. Business development will continue to gather pace across Staffordshire and create hundreds more jobs.”
Atkins added that the new projects would be getting off the ground following completion of i54 South Staffordshire, Redhill Business Park in Stafford, Kingswood Lakeside, Four Ashes Waste to Resource site and several major road improvements to aid business expansion in addition to beginning a huge project on the A50. The first phase of the advanced manufacturing skills hub will be operating this September and includes a new automotive and engineering hub in Tamworth. Staffordshire County Council has invested £1m in the new hub.