Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East 'At Risk of Being Left in Sidings' the G9 Group of Commercial Property Agents Is Calling for a Renewed Focus on Regional Infrastructure

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East 'At Risk of Being Left in Sidings' the G9 Group of Commercial Property Agents Is Calling for a Renewed Focus on Regional Infrastructure

Article excerpt

THERE has been a recent acceleration in the number of calls to dual the A1 through Northumberland.

Linking this increase in comment must surely not be as a result of local elections. True there are short bursts of four-lane road but, all in all, the A1 is a dangerous road as highlighted by its succession of warnings and sections prohibiting overtaking. This can reduce top speed to the pace of the slowest vehicle, be that a farm tractor, juggernaut or caravan.

The A1 is the main link from the North East to Scotland. As an important part of the regional economy it is within the overall infrastructure package for the region which enables it to function properly. We could take heart from plans to widen the A1M up to Scotch Corner but that will not be completed until 2017. Meanwhile to the west, the M74, running through countryside between Preston and Glasgow is now three lanes in either direction. A significant investment, whereas in the North East the A1 has no such luck.

In addition to main highways, infrastructure includes railways, air links, ports and commercial property such as factories and the availability of strategic sites to encourage inward investment all of which allow us to get on with day-to-day business and point to future economic prosperity.

The A1 aside, there is a clear need to provide a North Atlantic route for regional businesses that would match the successful Emirates connection with The Gulf. Connectivity by air via hubs, be it Heathrow, Paris or Amsterdam, adds a great deal of time hence the need for a clear, longdistance flight from Newcastle to North America to help our regional businesses penetrate important markets more easily.

Rail links with London are another concern, with the East Coast Main Line franchise the subject of future negotiation. …

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