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Blogs > John Glen Salisbury MP Diary > 22nd January 2020

22nd January 2020

22nd January 2020

It already seems like a long time ago that Her Majesty came to deliver The Queen’s Speech, setting out the new government’s priorities and legislative programme.

Yet the Queen’s Speech debate has been going on all this time, focusing in turn on different policy areas.

On Monday, the spotlight was on the economy and jobs, so, alongside fellow members of the Treasury team, I spent much of the day in the Chamber listening to backbench colleagues’ contributions.

There has been a lot of speculation in the media in the past week concerning the future of the A303 improvements at Stonehenge.

Highways England A303 Stonehenge Tunnel February 2018 2 (Highways England)
Highways England's artists impression of how the A303 could look over Countess roundabout

There is no doubt that meeting the needs of road users and communities along the route while also respecting the special heritage of the area, calls for a unique solution. The repeated studies and rejection of alternative routes and overland solutions over many years tell us as much.

It is only right that major undertakings receive careful scrutiny – and that is what is happening.

As Salisbury people, it is easy to forget that the Stonehenge section, while a unique challenge, is just one part of a much larger strategic route, linking London and the South West.

As such, it is not a local roadbuilding programme drawing focus from other local schemes, but a national one, preferred for investment over major transport infrastructure schemes in other parts of the country.

Both I and MPs from further west will continue to collectively make the case for better links to the south west and all the economic benefits that will bring – but not to the detriment of lobbying for investment in local roads.

A303 Stonehenge - Western tunnel portal
How the tunnel past Stonehenge could look from the Western entrance

It was good to get back in time for the Salisbury Civic Society’s annual awards last week and to hear about young architects and builders in the city doing such high-quality work.

Saturday’s wellness event in The Guildhall was an excellent showcase for the wonderful range of businesses and practitioners in the city working in the fields of health and fitness.

I am grateful to Erak Simsson for inviting me along and to all the exhibitors and speakers for lending their time to put together such a worthwhile event.

This Friday night, I am looking forward to the Woodford Valley Players eagerly awaited revue show and I am attending Downton’s village hall open day on Saturday morning.

Posted by John Glen at 9:52am

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