THE first stage of gaining planning consent for the £60 million upgrade of the A30 near Bodmin is under way.
The Planning Inspectorate, which is examining the plans put forward by Cornwall Council to dual the trunk road between Temple and Higher Carblake, held a preliminary meeting at Carew House in Bodmin last week to discuss the planning process for the development and how local people can have their say on the plans.
The inspector in charge of the planning inquiry, Alan Gray, officially started the process on February 7 and said he hoped to complete it by next August.
He said written comments by any registered, interested party will be accepted, mainly electronically. However a public, open-floor hearing could be requested by people should pertinent issues be raised.
Mick Martin, chairman of the A30 action group which campaigned for the road improvements, was relieved that real progress on dualling the single carriageway stretch of the road was now being made. "There were times over the past seven years when I thought this day would never come. We are here now and hopefully well and truly on our way,'' said Mr Martin.
Cornwall councillor for the Lanivet and Blisland division, Chris Batters, who was also at the meeting, said: "I am glad that the Planning Inspectorate has allowed the application to go forward to the next stage, and is making sure that people can have their say on the plans.
"Residents around this stretch of the A30 have put up with the delays and accidents for too long and I will continue to work with local people who want to see the road upgraded to make our area safer."
Funding worth £30 million for the scheme was secured from the coalition Government in December 2012, with Cornwall Council agreeing to contribute a similar amount.
Alex Folkes, Cornwall Council's Cabinet member for finance and resources, said a dual carriageway would provide a huge boost to the local economy and cut down on tailbacks, delays and accidents.
"Cornwall Council came forward with a more efficient, less costly design which helped to persuade the Government to provide the rest of the money to make sure this project goes ahead. This scheme will be good for business and good for Cornwall's economy,'' he said.
North Cornwall MP, Dan Rogerson, said he had worked with local people and councillors for years to fight for the improvement work.
"We refused to let things drop and with hard work, a good business case and a listening government we managed to secure much-needed funding for the scheme," he said.
Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, helped to secure funding for the A30 from the Government.
He said: "It will be an extremely good use of £30 million of government money and will provide a huge return in terms of value for money. The upgrade will also make the road much safer."