Almost £6m cut from fund
A MULTI-million pound pot of money put aside for Swindon to spend on major transport projects has been slashed by £5m by the Government.
Swindon and Wiltshire were told they would receive £16.9m between 2015 and 2015 to spend on schemes to boost the area’s transport links.
But it has been revealed that figure has now been reduced by about one third to £11m.
Councillor Keith Williams, cabinet member for highways, strategic transport and leisure, said he was not surprised by the reduction as the Government had warned it was likely to cut by that amount.
“The scheme which will no longer take place is the platform improvements at Westbury Station,” said Coun Williams.
“Improvements to junction 16 will be going ahead and improvements at Junction 15, for Swindon, will also be going ahead. Work at Junction 15 will include improving feeder roads and phasing in traffic lights.
Swindon Labour group’s transport lead Councillor Julian Price said the cuts to funding would see Swindon lose out on at least one major highways or transport scheme that could have benefited the town.
“Transport funding is absolutely crucial, particularly for the needed improvements to junctions off the M4 and A419 to reduce traffic congestion,” said Coun Price.
“With the remaining money we will just have enough money to improve Swindon’s two M4 junctions. But there will be no money for improvements to junctions off of the A419 or for a North Swindon Rapid Transit system.”
“Local businesses and motorists need these improvements and any cuts in funding will delay their implementation.
“A new and energised transport network is vital if we are to help local people get to work more easily and assist businesses who need fast, efficient transport solutions.
“I would encourage people to write to the Department for Transport to express the need for transport improvement.”
Meanwhile, Wiltshire Council will debate providing financial support for an increase of its services on the TransWilts railway line at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
The council has plans for £1.2m of funding to the project, which could include a new Royal Wootton Bassett station, for the next two years, the funds coming from a £4.2m state grant.
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