THE LEADER of the county council is backing a major new report which calls for a controversial motorway junction at Flackwell Heath to go ahead.
Martin Tett has thrown his weight behind the ‘Mind The Gap’ report, which sets out a ten-point transport plan to bring economic benefits to the south east.
Produced by experts representing counties across the region, one of the areas it highlights is the creation of junction 3a on the M40 between Flackwell Heath and High Wycombe.
The report suggests this option, which proved unpopular with residents in the recent Wycombe Local Plan consultation, would ‘open up significant development opportunities’.
Mind The Gap calls for more central Government investment into local transport projects to bring more prosperity to the region.
And Cllr Tett has backed the idea of the mooted junction, saying it would bring economic benefits to the Wycombe area.
He said: “Investment in the South East’s transport infrastructure is essential and well overdue. The South East continues to be the 'engine house' of the UK economy; if it doesn't prosper then the taxes are not generated to help fund the Long Term Economic Plan nationally.
“Over the next four years, we at Buckinghamshire County Council will invest at least £65m into repairing our roads but this is not enough.
“We need national investment in the major local schemes outlined in today’s report, which I wholeheartedly welcome.
“For example, a new junction on the M40 would make a significant difference to Wycombe area residents and businesses, reducing journey times, unlocking employment land and creating jobs.”
The report has been developed as a joint project by South East England Councils, where Mr Tett is an executive, South East Strategic Leaders and South East Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport.
As well as the junction at Flackwell Heath, the report calls for improved access to the M1 corridor and Milton Keynes for Aylesbury Vale and north Buckinghamshire.
And it suggests improvements to the A34, an important freight and passenger link to Buckinghamshire.
Residents reacted angrily to the Flackwell junction proposal after it was put up for debate during Wycombe District Council’s Local Plan consultation.
A family-run equestrian centre at the proposed site near Spring Lane raised fears they would be put out of business by the move.
And there were complaints it would create a huge influx of traffic through Flackwell Heath village and act as a cut through for commuters avoiding Handy Cross.
But supporters of the scheme, including Cllr Tett, believe a new junction would help bring and retain business for the area and encourage new developments.
The full report can be found at http://www.secouncils.gov.uk/2014/06/mind-the-gap-south-east-transport-deficit-risks-growth/