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'Businesses Will Suffer' If A591 Remains Closed Until End Of May

January 14, 2016 6:44 PM

A591South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that the government will undertake all the work required to reopen the A591, but with the road not due to reopen until the end of May he has warned that it will be "devastating for businesses".

Tim has highlighted the fact that when the Dawlish railway line in the South-West flooded in 2014, a 300-strong Network Rail team rebuilt the track at a cost of £35m in just over 50 days. Tim pointed out that almost 40 days have already passed here in Cumbria since the A591 was first destroyed.

A group of local business people has estimated that if the A591 remains closed until May, there will be a cost of between £40-100m to the local economy.

Tim said: "It is right that the government should take responsibility for getting this essential route reopened, and that Highways England will be doing the work.

"However, it is still going to take far too long for this key road to reopen, and local businesses are going to suffer. Businesses that rely on the tourist trade will miss out on the whole of Easter, a bank holiday weekend and 2 half terms - many simply cannot wait that long.

"The fixing of the railway line in Dawlish a few years ago shows that the government can get work done quickly when it wants to, but it appears that Cumbria is not a priority for the government.

"My thanks go to Cumbria County Council, and particularly to Cllr Heidi Halliday, for their efforts in pushing this forward."