The speech made by Julie Marson, the Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford, in the House of Commons on 19 May 2022.
It is a great pleasure to speak in this transport debate and to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West (Anna Firth).
I will focus on two local projects that are of great importance to my local community in Hertford and Stortford. Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak in the final debate on the Queen’s Speech, on economic growth, where I made the point that delivering infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, is such a key part of the Government’s agenda, along with delivering skills and innovation. I really do welcome the Government’s commitment to infrastructure and transport projects up and down the country that will deliver economic growth and improved productivity, and spread opportunity across our nation. We need sustainable, creative, innovative, green solutions.
That leads me neatly on to HERT—the Hertfordshire to Essex rapid transit proposal, which is being consulted on and developed right now, with public engagement across the relevant counties of Hertfordshire and Essex. HERT will deliver accessible, reliable, affordable, sustainable east-to-west transit in my constituency. I have two towns in the west, two towns in the east, and the rural piece in the middle, and east-to-west transport is difficult, partly because buses are less than reliable. This is a really creative, innovative solution to that issue, and it will go much further than my constituency and benefit both counties as well. It really is a forward-looking vision that will create and support jobs, growth and accessibility for our community. I look forward to the continuing development of this long-term project and engaging with the Department to realise it.
I also want to highlight the brilliant bid in which we have been shortlisted for Bishop’s Stortford to become the headquarters of the new Great British Railways. I pay tribute to all those involved in putting this brilliant bid together as part of the Shaping Stortford group: East Hertfordshire District Council, Hertfordshire County Council, Bishop’s Stortford Town Council, Hertfordshire’s LEP, Solum, Bishop’s Stortford BID—business improvement district—and all the local residents who have engaged so constructively and proactively. The proposed Goods Yard site dates from 1842, and it is very fitting to have the possibility of returning rail to this historic site, which is itself a key town centre regeneration project. Our area has its own pockets of deprivation, and the jobs this would deliver would be a huge boost for our community, and, overall, a great addition to our expanding but beautiful market town, which is so brilliantly located as the gateway to the eastern region, at the heart of the Cambridge-London-Stansted innovation corridor, and to Stansted airport itself, and linked by road and rail to London.
Both HERT and the Great British Railways HQ bid are projects that are a credit to Hertford and Stortford and to the people who are involved in them. I heartily recommend them to the Minister, who has an invitation to come and visit at any time.