Ranil Jayawardena MP—Opinion Piece March 2020

Better roads across our area

With North East Hampshire having the highest rate of two-car ownership in the UK, I know how vital boosting investment in fixing our roads and delivering better roads across our area is.

From the many emails and letters I receive, little causes constituents more frustration – let alone damage, danger or expense – than potholes. Hampshire County Council (HCC) – who have responsibility for our roads – have been granted £8 million of funding to repair potholes from the government and, when identified, they’re good at fixing potholes. They can only fix the potholes about which they’re informed though, so that’s why local residents and I have formed ‘Pothole Busters’, as I hope you’ve seen in my previous columns. Together, we can bring additional manpower to report potholes across our community and, as your MP, I am happy to deploy my ‘power to pester’. I can push for action and answers on your behalf, should timely repairs not be made. And, trust me, I will! So, please report potholes you find at bit.ly/roadrepairs, then send me your HCC reference number and your contact phone number – and let me know if you want to join our team too!

My work isn’t always able to deliver immediate results, but it remains right to plan today, for tomorrow. Transport for the South East (TfSE) is the new body that the government has formed to bring together the South East. While we benefit from the nearby M3 and M4, we all know the congestion caused by heavy vehicles cutting through our constituency on the A33, A327, A287 and other routes. After much work to get here, I was delighted to see that TfSE’s recently published strategy backs a new route to improve links between the M3 and M4, and onward connectivity between Hampshire and Gatwick Airport. Originally planned in the 1960s, the M31 from Junction 10 of the M4 to Junction 3 of the M3 will enable traffic to avoid one of the busiest sections of the M25 and reduce the pollution caused by queues on these stretches. I have responded, as your MP, to their consultation on the strategy, making the case for these investments that benefit our local area.

Finally, more locally, developing our cycle networks is a vital part of ‘Our Plan’. I am grateful to those locals who’ve joined my working group to suggest the on-and-off-road cycle lanes we want to see, as part of a new, joined-up cycle network. If you’re keen to get involved, or just want to be kept updated, please do let me know.

Don’t forget that you can register for updates on all my parliamentary and constituency work here or, as ever, you can send me an email to: email@ranil.uk