Businesses call for A1 dualling in Northumberland

Businesses have called on the Chancellor to make dualling the A1 through Northumberland one of his transport priorities in his Spending Review.

The North East Chamber of Commerce has made upgrading the stretch of road one of the key lobbying positions in its submission to George Osborne ahead of the Government unveiling its spending priorities on June 26.

The organisation ranks it as the region’s most important road network project, alongside speeding up already approved proposals for upgrades to the A1 and A19.

Chairman of NECC’s Northumberland committee, Dave Douglas, who is also operations and HR director at Alnwick-based Hardy and Greys, said: “The dualling of the A1 through Northumberland would provide an enormous boost for the county, the regional economy and north east business generally.

“The economic case has been made for dualling this important arterial route, which would greatly ease connectivity between the north east and Scotland, opening up potentially lucrative new markets on our own doorstep.

“While we appreciate this would be a lengthy project, NECC members believe that the preparatory work should begin as soon as possible to enable a swift start to work when full project approval is secured.”

The NECC is urging funding to be prioritised towards areas with the potential to unlock economic growth.

“The North East’s capacity for development should be a big competitive advantage for the region,” said Jonathan Walker, NECC’s head of member relations.

“Dualling the A1 in Northumberland will be welcomed by the existing business community and also help attract new business to the region and particularly Northumberland.

“More must be done to help north east businesses deliver sustainable economic growth, increase wealth and more jobs and improvements to infrastructure are key to that.”