Designers of Melton’s partial bypass, which is due to be built by early 2023 at the latest, are celebrating after winning a prestigious regional planning award.
The £63.5million Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) was praised by judges in the East Midlands Royal Town Planning Association Awards as they made it the winner of the Natural Environment Category.
Special mention was made of the way the design of the 7km single carriageway road, which will link the A606 Nottingham Road to the north with the A606 Burton Road to the south, was diverted around the River Eye.
This work was undertaken through a collaboration of Leicestershire County Council, AECOM, Natural England and the Environment Agency.
The planning application submitted in October 2018, and approved in May, also included details of substantial environmental mitigation including tree and hedge planting, ecological enhancement areas and sustainable drainage.
The innovative approach taken to community consultation, including an app and visualisation created using drone footage, also contributed to the project win.
Byron Rhodes, deputy leader of the county council, said: “I am delighted by the fact that the Melton Distributor Road was the winner in the Planning for the Natural Environment category.
“It is very rare for a road scheme to triumph in this category and the win is a huge accolade for our delivery partner AECOM and the many county council colleagues across a wide range of teams who have worked so hard on this project.”
The MMDR scheme was one of 26 high quality entries received from across the county for the awards scheme.
County Hall also celebrated a second success with its plan for housing and employment growth in Leicestershire until 2050 - the Strategic Growth Plan for Leicester and Leicestershire - triumphing in the category for Excellence in Plan Making.
The plan, which was developed by the county council, Leicester City Council, the seven local borough and district authorities, including Melton, and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, focuses on four key matters - delivering new housing; supporting the economy; identifying essential infrastructure; and protecting the environment and built heritage.
Melton Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for growth and prosperity, Councillor Leigh Higgins, said: “This is an excellent accolade for everyone involved in both the Strategic Growth Plan and MMDR.
“The Strategic Growth Plan is an exemplar of councils working together to address issues that will affect us all.
“These awards are in recognition of the value we place on our natural environment and that development not only will be great for our economy, but the design and construction also can respect the beautiful natural landscape we have here.
“It’s superb to learn that already the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road is an award winning one and these awards are testament to the hard work of everyone involved and are something to be extremely proud of.”
Councillor Trevor Pendleton, chair of the members’ advisory group for the strategic growth plan, said: “I am proud of the fact that partners in Leicester and Leicestershire have been so successful at the 2019 regional planning awards; which thoroughly reflects the strength of our partnership working.
“As well as winning the category for Excellence in Plan Making for the Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan, partners almost swept the board, winning awards in the categories for Planning for the Natural Environment, planning to Deliver Homes and Planning for a Successful Economy.”