Transport was pushed to the top of the agenda last week, as the Transport Secretary paid a visit to Cheltenham's Railway Station. The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin MP, was welcomed to town by Conservative MP hopeful, Alex Chalk, to discuss the future of Cheltenham's transport infrastructure.
In the lead-up to the visit, Mr Chalk asked residents to submit their most important issues for him to discuss with Mr McLoughlin. Among the issues raised were the A417 Loop proposal, which was promised £255 million of Government funding back in December, the Borough Council's Boots Corner plans and the blight of potholes. But the most burning issue residents wanted put to the Transport Secretary was the future of the railway station.
After the meeting, Mr Chalk said, “The respondents to my survey put the railway station at the top of their list of priorities. That’s why I wanted the Secretary of State to see for himself the dilapidated facilities and to impress upon him the need for investment. After years of underinvestment in Cheltenham's creaking infrastructure, we need to take our case to the top of Government and start getting results.''
Mr McLoughlin was keen to congratulate his Conservative counterpart, Alex Chalk. He said ''Alex is to be congratulated on his campaign to improve rail services to Cheltenham. Alex has a clear plan to win investment for Cheltenham¹s railway station and I was glad of the opportunity to discuss this with him. Following our meeting I have no doubt he would work tirelessly for the town.''
Whilst in the town, the Transport Secretary was also asked about potholes in Gloucestershire, which is one of the worst affected counties in the UK. He admitted that there is a “big job to do” to improve our roads, but pointed out that the Government has increase the money available for road maintenance by 27%.
It was announced in December last year that the Government would give the County Council an extra £4 million to fix potholes in 2015/2016 compared to 2014/15.