First stage of A21 scheme approved

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DRIVERS heading to the capital could face an easier route after the Government gave the green light to development work on the A21.

Roads Minister Mike Penning this week announced public consultation work will start on widening the route between Tonbridge and Pembury.

The announcement comes just weeks after the Government gave the go ahead for the £100 million Hastings to Bexhill Link Road.

Campaigners have been calling for improved road links between Hastings and the capital for decades to help improve the area’s economy.

The development work, to be carried out over the next three years, will ensure that a ‘pipeline’ of future Highways Agency major infrastructure improvements will be maintained. The development work will focus on designing and consulting on proposals, along with progressing any necessary formal statutory processes.

It is hoped proposals will be in a good position to be considered for delivery in the early years of the next spending review period in 2015.

Hastings MP Amber Rudd welcomed the announcement. She said: “This is good news for Hastings, better transport links are essential for the economic regeneration for the town.

“This Government has already confirmed that the Link Road will go ahead and now it is showing its commitment to improving the A21.”

Mr Penning said: “We are committed to tackling congestion, keeping traffic moving and supporting the UK economy, putting in money where it’s most needed and where the public will get a good return on investment.

“We have already announced around £3 billion of investment to complete work on Highways Agency major road projects under construction and to allow work to start before March 2015 on 20 much-needed road improvement schemes.

“I am confirming development work will be advanced on a further six schemes around the country.

“This means they will be in a good position to be selected for start of works in the early years of the next spending review period.”