Wider M1 link is on the cards

Dr Ann Limb
Dr Ann Limb

A regional partnership body has recognised the vital economic importance of widening the road from Milton Keynes to junction 13 of the M1.

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) has added a £6million project to dual the A421 to the motorway to its list of things to do if and when the money becomes available.

At a board meeting in Northampton on Wednesday SEMLEP also agreed to add a £4million plan to improve the roundabouts at Brinklow and Monkston to the same Growing Places Fund list.

SEMLEP believes the economy of the new city could be boosted if the roads in the area are improved.

SEMLEP and other business-led groups are becoming more important in deciding how the region from Northampton to Luton and Aylesbury to Biggleswade develops.

The Chancellor, in his Budget speech on Wednesday, recognised the importance of infrastructure projects and house building. Those are two top priorities for SEMLEP, which is bidding to win new power for the region to build more homes.

Dr Ann Limb, who chairs SEMLEP, told Business Citizen that Chancellor Osborne is making all the right noises.

The government has also supported a report by former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine to devolve power to the regions.

Dr Limb, who is a self-confessed fan of Milton Keynes, said: “The LEPs are here to stay and the successful ones will outshine the rest. We intend to be with the best.”

SEMLEP has also set up an ambassadors group of large employers to add clout. Members include chairman Peter O’Gorman of Santander.