A BRIDGE across the River Severn to Lydney, better links to the M5 and investment in Sharpness Docks are some of the things being considered by a new commission set up to boost the economic fortunes of the area.

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael is inviting community figures from Dursley, Cam, Berkeley and Sharpness to join the “Carmichael Commission”, which looks to encourage considerable investment in the area’s infrastructure.

Mr Carmichael said he had been in touch with the Minister of State, MP Greg Clarke, who is in charge of local growth, to help boost the region’s chances of securing future investment, telling the Gazette there was a definite need for it.

“What we need to do is recognise the economic potential of this area,” he said.

“There is a range of things we want to do, including developing infrastructure such as improving links to the M5, see how Sharpness can be brought into the economic circle more effectively, as well as a bridge linking Sharpness to Lydney.”

The commission will have a taste of the plans being considered at an engineering event being held at the Chantry Centre in Dursley on Friday, March 28 by Mr Carmichael as a spin-off of his Stroud-based festival, Festomane.

As part of his push to promote training in engineering and manufacturing, the Conservative backbencher said companies needed to focus on the more technologically-advanced side of the industry, citing Wotton-under-Edge firm Renishaw as a good example of the benefits that can be gained.

However Dursley Cllr Doina Cornell said she was not impressed by the initiative.

“Mr Carmichael is continually talking about festivals, canal forums and so on that he is organising and we can add a ‘commission’ to the list now,” she said.

“Until one of these organisations actually comes up with a tangible result, he really can’t expect people to take him seriously.”