New facilities for students, better transport links, town centre redevelopment, even a digital hub: exciting, ambitious plans are becoming a reality across our part of Wiltshire.
We’ve already secured Government funding for a new Wiltshire College campus in Chippenham, and I’m looking forward to cutting the turf to mark the start of construction on Friday.
The new TransWilts rail service has brought regular trains back to Melksham and is proving popular.
Work to widen the A350 north of Chippenham is underway, funded by the Local Pinch Point Fund set up by the Liberal Democrats.
This week, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable announced more support from the Coalition Government to build a stronger economy here. In the new Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Deal, the Government is committing to invest around £130 million in our area over the next seven years. Added to that is £70 million of investment this attracts from local partners and the private sector.
Further to the grant I helped secure to rebuild the college campus in the town, the Government will help fund adjacent improvements around Chippenham station, including better car parking and easier links for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Growth Deal also includes £7.1 million to extend the dual carriageway on the A350 beyond the work already started and on as far as the A4.
This will also help bring forward the Local Enterprise Partnership’s plans for a higher education centre and digital community in Corsham, but it is no substitute for an Oxford-Bristol rail service calling both at Chippenham and a re-opened Corsham station. I am continuing my work both with local campaigners and colleagues in Parliament to seek to make this happen.
Our area has a proud tradition of advanced manufacturing and engineering, including world-leading firms in the transport and automotive sectors. I’m pleased to see the Coalition Government and the Local Enterprise Partnership supporting that, and in Parliament on Tuesday I urged the Deputy Prime Minister to deploy this investment to help local industry remain competitive.
My next constituency surgeries will be at my office in Avonbridge House, Chippenham tomorrow, 10–11.30am and in the same place on Thursday, July 17, 2–3.30pm.