Not for the first time, your reporter has chosen to approach candidates from the other parties for their views on dualling the A1, whilst not seeking to elicit my opinions. I’m beginning to feel like ‘a lonely little Petunia in an onion patch’ as a result. But I am here and will remain so.
It would, of course, be churlish of me to try to score a narrow party political point or two. I broadly welcome the plans, although it would have been better to see the work carried out all the way to the border at Berwick, but I caution against over optimism.
It will take time for the project to come to fruition. Plans have to be drawn up, land purchased and no doubt public consultation and possibly public inquiries held to discuss the route in detail. How much land will be the subject of compulsory purchase? How long will it take to acquire the land?
It could take as much as seven years from the start of the project to completion with the further extension to Berwick adding to that time.
So in the meantime, we are at the mercy, in the words of Harold Macmillan, of ‘events, dear boy, events’. Falling tax revenues, further demands for up to £34billion from Brussels to meet spending obligations over the next six years and the escalating costs of the shibboleth that is HS2 are, but three of the potential pitfalls which may mean that these plans for the A1 may not yet happen.
To prove that they are serious about protecting the economic health of the region, the unnecessary and costly HS2 rail link should be cancelled and the money spent elsewhere; including ensuring that this upgrade does happen.
I do support the upgrade, it is needed and the constituency in particular and the region in general will gain if they are completed, but I’m not holding my breath.
Nigel Coghill-Marshall, Ukip Parliamentary Candidate Berwick upon Tweed
Editor’s note: Our reporters didn’t have to contact anyone – all the candidates quoted approached us with their opinions. Perhaps Ukip should learn from the other parties and be more proactive when a big story breaks.