Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Roads and Local Transport) Richard Holden visited Cornwall this week where he travelled by bus from Cornwall Airport Newquay to Newquay Bus Station to hear from local groups and businesses about the importance of the bus network.
He heard how Cornwall’s successful bus fares pilot which, combined with the government’s extended £2 flat fare single journey scheme, has encouraged more residents and visitors to get back on the bus. He also heard how active travel initiatives like Cornwall’s e-bike share scheme, Beryl bikes which are available at locations all across Cornwall, have proved to be especially popular in Newquay where the bay at Newquay Railway Station ranks in Beryl’s top ten most popular in the country.
He took the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular open top bus ride when he got on board the Atlantic Coaster, where passengers can enjoy stunning views of Cornwall’s rugged Atlantic Coast as they travel between Newquay and Padstow.
Connor Donnithorne, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport, said: “We were delighted to welcome Richard Holden and discuss with him how our commitment to improve public transport and promote active travel in Cornwall is progressing and how we’re delivering the Cornwall Transport Plan.”
The Minister was also updated on the scheme to offer free bus travel to care leavers which he heard about on his visit to Cornwall earlier this year. After a successful pilot run in Cornwall with the charities Carefree and Barnardo’s, and the bus operators, the Council has now officially adopted the scheme.. The first passes have been issued to care leavers giving them free bus travel in Cornwall to give them better access to work, training or study and getting to appointments, as well help improve mental health and reduce isolation.
The Minister then went to Roche near St Austell to see first-hand the progress being made to deliver a vital government backed new road to link St Austell to the A30. The new link will support employment, housing and regeneration in the area including economic growth and improved access to Cornwall’s growing employment sites. He viewed drone footage that gave a bird’s eye view of the significant work already undertaken to build the 3.9-mile single carriageway road and saw the new Tregoss Roundabout which has been built as part of the scheme.
Once complete in spring 2025, the new road will run from the Singlerose Roundabout south of Stenalees, bypassing to the west of Roche to link to the A30 via the Victoria junction, with new junctions to provide local access, which will link the A391 at Carluddon with the A30 at Victoria.
The Minister heard how the new road will not only provide a vital and much needed direct link from the A30 to St Austell but also offer an alternative route for traffic that currently goes through the villages of Bugle and Roche, making a huge difference to residents living in those villages.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport Connor Donnithorne said: “I hope the minister was impressed with the progress being made and plans to complement the new road by delivering five-and-a-half miles of new paths and routes for walking, cycling and horse riding. There will also be a ‘green corridor’ of wildflowers, with wildflower species chosen to reflect the local flora of Cornwall, as well as heathland, trees, and shrubs to support wildlife habitats, insects, and pollinators as we work to support active travel and biodiversity as part of this vital project.”
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Visiting Newquay bus station today, I have seen how the £2 fares cap and Cornwall’s low fares pilot is boosting bus passenger numbers, supported by our combined £38.8 million investment, as we continue to help people save money on travel and protect crucial services that so many local residents rely on.
“Here in Cornwall, we have also invested over £78 million for the new A30 link road to ease congestion, boost local connectivity and provide new opportunities for walking and cycling, while creating new jobs and helping to grow the local economy.”