A leading politician has thrown his support behind the long-standing campaign to dual the A1.
Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps told the Gazette that he recognises how important it is for stretches of the road in Northumberland to be widened.
The MP for Welwyn Hatfield made a pledge to back the fight following a visit to Alnwick on Thursday.
He said: “I am going to go back to London and back the campaign for the A1 widening.
“I will be having a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, telling him to support the dualling of the A1.
“I know that Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative candidate for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, has been fighting a fantastic campaign for the dualling of the A1 and it is a really important issue for the whole area.”
Campaigners have long been calling for the A1 to be dualled on stretches between Morpeth and Berwick. In June this year, the fight received a boost after it was announced that a feasibility study would be carried out.
Anne-Marie, founded of the A1 Action Group, was delighted to hear Mr Shapps’ support for the widening campaign.
“I was really encouraged by his support for the dualling of the A1,” she said.
“He appreciated immediately some of the issues which we are raising about the road and he took some ‘Dual the A1’ stickers with him to give to members of the cabinet in London and I look forward to having support at the highest level of the Conservative Party.”
Mr Shapps was in north Northumberland last week to meet a number of local business representatives at MKM Building Supplies, on the Lionheart Enterprise Park, in Alnwick.
He discussed the difficulties that small and medium enterprises now face in business, the difficulties in obtaining bank lending and the need for reduction in red tape.
He also discussed the impact of the forthcoming cut in National Insurance.
From April 2014, employers are due to receive a cut of £2,000 on their employers’ premiums, which might stimulate the jobs market and will benefit small businesses.
“It was good to meet local businesses in Alnwick and it was interesting to see how things are going for them,” said Mr Shapps, who was impressed by host firm, MKM.
“The company’s story is very impressive,” he said.
Members of the town’s chamber of trade attended.