Cumberland Council has said that ‘every pound is welcome’ after it was announced that the government has set aside almost £150million for travel infrastructure projects over the next seven years from 2025.

Nearly £1.5billion of reallocated HS2 funding is to be invested directly into the North West through a Local Transport Fund to improve connections.

The investment comes alongside £8.3billion pledged to resurface roads across the country, £1billion to improve bus services in the North and Midlands, and £200million to extend the £2 bus fare cap across England.

The government say the investment will result in better public transport, reduced congestion and upgraded bus and train stations but Labour have criticised the plans as a ‘renouncement’ of previous spending commitments.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have a clear plan to level up our country with greater transport links that people need and deliver the right long term change for a brighter future.

“Through reallocating HS2 funding, we’re not only investing billions of pounds directly back into our smaller cities, towns and rural areas across the North and Midlands, but we are also empowering their local leaders to invest in the transport projects that matter most to their communities - this is levelling up in action. 

“The Local Transport Fund will deliver a new era of transport connectivity. This unprecedented investment will benefit more people, in more places, more quickly than HS2 ever would have done, and comes alongside the billions of pound worth of funding we’ve already invested into our roads, buses and local transport services across the country.”

Labour's party chair Anneliese Dodds said: "The reality is many of the schemes being talked about have already been announced.

“This is ultimately spending money that was previously earmarked for something else, that was then cancelled after many years of mismanagement of HS2".

The funds are to build new roads and improve junctions, install or expand mass transit systems, improve roads by filling potholes, improve journey times for car and bus users by tackling congestion, increase the number of EV chargepoints, refurbish bus and rail stations and improve streets so they are safer.

Last year the prime minister promised to ‘upgrade' the energy coast train line linking Carlisle, Workington and Barrow using redirected HS2 money after the Manchester to Birmingham leg was cancelled.

The upgrade would 'improve capacity and journey times' on the line, enabling trains every 30 minutes between Carlisle, Workington, and Whitehaven, according to the government.

Cumbria’s Conservative MPs have written to Cumberland Council urging them to use the funds to re-trunk the A689 whilst de-trunking the Warwick Bridge section of the A69, ‘immediately’ commence work on the delayed Grizebeck bypass and commence work on the Bothel strategic improvement project.

“We of course welcome the additional Government funding which has been reallocated following the scrapping of the HS2 high-speed rail line last year,” Cllr Denise Rollo, Cumberland Council executive member for sustainable, resilient and connected places said.

“Maintaining a safe and reliable road network in Cumberland is a key priority for us, and with 3,400km of road to look after, every pound is welcome and will be put to good use to benefit road users across the whole of our area.

“The council will now work with local leaders and communities through our Community Panels to develop detailed plans to ensure the funding is spent on local transport priorities to get the best outcomes for our residents across Cumberland.

“We will also explore opportunities for more ambitious transport improvements over the next seven years which could include increasing the number of electric vehicle chargepoints, junction improvements, safer streets initiatives for children to walk to school and improved street lighting.”

Carlisle MP, John Stevenson, said that the investment was a ‘further opportunity’ for growth in the area and that investment in the road system would bring ‘significant benefits’ to the city.

“This investment is a further opportunity for Carlisle and the Cumberland area to grow and develop. It also demonstrates confidence in the area.

“Investing in the road system will bring significant benefits to my constituents.

“It will improve connectivity, communication and if we get the re trunking of the A689 and de trunking of the A69 right it will improve the lives of people in the east of the city.

“The improvements to the A595 will also help improve the links between Carlisle and the west bringing huge benefits to the whole area.”

High up on the agenda for many local residents will be for the numerous potholes across the region to be fixed which have been labelled an ‘absolute nightmare’.

In his weekly column in the News & Star on January 20, Mr Stevenson called on the council to take action on potholes which have are widespread across the city.

“More and more you see car drivers and cyclists take evasive action to avoid causing damage to their car or bicycle while travelling on the roads in Carlisle,” he said.

“I accept that road repairs, like anything else involving repair and maintenance, is remarkably unexciting – especially from a council or councillor’s perspective.

“After all, there are no ribbons to cut when filling in a pothole. Nevertheless, this basic service is absolutely vital to our everyday lives. It is one of those services, similar to collecting our bins or maintaining our street lighting and parks, that is unglamorous but still vitally important.

“You don’t really notice just how important they are until they start to become disregarded.”

Readers have been sharing their pothole hotspots across the county with Wigton to Silloth side of Abbeytown being described as bad and one said that the city there were ‘too many to count’.

The money will start to arrive in from next year and is set to be granted over a seven year period until 2032.

Concrete plans of what the money should be spent on are yet to be decided.