Chris Grayling says 'something needs to be done' about 'nightmare' Mansfield junction
On a visit to Mansfield today (January 31), secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling MP said "something needs to be done" about the junction at Mansfield Retail Park onto the A60.
Mr Grayling visited the junction to speak to MP Ben Bradley about plans to ease congestion on the A60.
Mr Bradley set up a petition with campaigners in December, to support changes to the junction at Mansfield Retail Park on the A60.
Residents of the area have said the junction is 'nightmare', especially on weekends and evenings.
Resident Shelley Marriott, who lives on Fuller Close said: "The road is so bad that I have had to abandon my car on a Saturday afternoon and walk home.
"I honestly don't know what they can do, we need another road."
The MP has campaigned for changes, and Nottinghamshire County Council is looking into two options for the junction after three plans were shelved for being unfeasable.
It is not yet known what these options are, as they are still being discussed by the planning committee.
Mr Grayling said: "Something needs to be done on this busy route, and there should be some money made available to do so.
"It won't be massively expensive to improve this area and ease congestion.
"Some good progress has already been made.
"we've spent money in the past in local pinch points we'll be doing it again - that's clearly a strong candidate."
Mr Bradley said: “I think Chris Grayling coming back to Mansfield for the second time in a year shows we’re making real progress with the campaign for changes.
"The actual plan is coming together working with County Council.
"Local Conservative activists have been petitioning local residents on the retail park, gathering hundreds and hundreds of signatures and that is still ongoing and those signatures increase every day.
"The plans have also come together and Chris came back to see exactly what is proposed.
"There are some final feasibility tests left to do but Chris is pretty happy and as soon as those tests are completed then I will be knocking on his door for some cash
John Cottee, chairman for communities and place at Nottinghamshire County Council welcomed the minister's visit.
"We appreciate the support shown by the minister to resolve the issue of this junction at peak times.
"The county council is short of funds for these projects, and we are hoping the minister can help financially.
"We do have £6.6 million extra for potholes, and £18 million for improvements to the islands on the A614."
Robin Hood Line and HS2 Projects
The Robin Hood line's franchise with East Midlands Trains comes up for renewal in the coming months and Mr Grayling said that companies bidding to take over the franchise will have to also submit plans for the re-opening of the line. Mr Grayling added: "We want to test out what re-opening the line will cost, and we are keen to double the train service to Mansfield.
"The great thing about Mansfield and the Robin Hood Line is this is one of the routes I'm really keen to see trains running on again.
"Trains on the Robin Hood Line would mean twice as many trains from Mansfield to Nottingham for commuters, but also trains being seen again in the North-East part of the County for the first time for a very long time.
"This is something we've told the new franchises, that they've got to bring forward a plan that I'm very keen to see come to fruition."
The minister also said there had not been any delays in bringing a HS2 hub to Toton, which he said will have the 'biggest impact' when it arrives in the East Midlands.
"We are working with local councils to develop the transport hub at Toton, which is a wasteland at the moment.
"A big part of this is re-opening the Robin Hood Line extension.
"There have been no delays and we want to get the project right.
"A Robin Hood Line to Toton would create jobs and austerity and would have an enormous impact on the East Midlands.
The train line would branch off the Robin Hood Line, taking passengers from Kirkby to Toton, which Mr Grayling said he is 'committed' to delivering. The line is currently in use and maintained but is only open to freight trains, and used for driver training.
The extension would take the line into Warsop, Edwinstowe, and Ollerton, linking local people to new jobs at the former Welbeck and Thoresby Colliery sites, as well as boosting tourism in Sherwood Forest