Government funds for upgrade of A30 bottleneck 'not guaranteed'
Whitehall officials could still pull out of lavishing money on upgrading a notorious bottleneck on Cornwall's A30, it has been warned.
In last year's autumn statement, Chancellor George Osborne promised Government cash to make a single lane 2.8-mile stretch between Temple and Higher Carblake, near Bodmin, into a dual carriageway.
First mooted 25 years ago, the £30 million road-building scheme was among a bank of infrastructure projects Mr Osborne revealed was to be fast-tracked – using the announcement to underline how the Government was getting the economy moving.
But the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – a business and local authority coalition charged by ministers with helping boost jobs in the area – has warned the cash is only "provisional".
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The Department for Transport (DfT) is still expecting to see a "business case" this summer to justify the hand-out.
Consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff has been commissioned by Cornwall Council to assess its economic impact.
On its website, the LEP has asked local businesses to take part in a survey that will aim to show how the proposed improvement scheme will affect them.
It states: "The Government has only given provisional approval subject to a business case and a strict timetable for delivery – without the economic evidence it could be all off!"
A DfT spokesman confirmed that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin could either "approve or decline" the scheme once attempts to satisfy "statutory requirements" were complete.
She added: "We are committed to going ahead with this scheme. But there are still a number of statutory requirements to go through. That is the same with every single road scheme."
Construction has been mooted to begin in the 2014/15 financial year and complete the following year.
Cornwall Council has said the new-look road could presage a £117 million economic boost, plus £154 million in "transport benefits" – though officials are expecting a more detailed analysis than has been previously carried out.
Traffic congestion on the main roads in and out of Cornwall is a huge issue for holidaymakers, local residents and businesses. In January, initial designs for dualling the A30 through Cornwall went on public display.
A Cornwall Council spokesman said: "Until a final funding offer has been received the Government's funding can always be refused.
"The council is committed to the delivery of A30 Temple and is allocating all necessary resources to ensure the programme remains on schedule."