Melton borough councillors have agreed to contribute up to £6million towards the building of the town’s partial bypass in what the authority calls a ‘pioneering’ infrastructure agreement with Leicestershire County Council.
The government will pay £65million of the estimated £100million cost of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR), which will link the north and south of the town with a relief road passing to the east of it.
Work is expected to begin on the north and east sections this summer and although planning approval is still needed for the southern link it is hoped the road will be opened in its entirety by early 2023.
The borough council and county council have been discussing over the last year how they can meet the £35million shortfall in funding and an infrastructure funding agreement has now been finalised to support and share the risks associated with meeting these costs.
Melton’s £6million share will come from developer contributions from the thousands of new homes set to be built in the town and from the proceeds of growth.
Commenting on the infrastructure agreement with County Hall, borough council leader, Joe Orson, said: “At a recent council meeting the principles upon which this agreement will be based were approved.
“It means Melton will make a contribution of up to approximately £6million up to 2035, using a share of the benefits of growth from income we receive from new homes.
“It is a pioneering agreement within Leicestershire and one which will see the road delivered, helping to ease congestion, improve air quality and unlock the homes and jobs required to secure Melton’s future prosperity.”
The council said great thought had been given to making the arrangement cost-effective and to protect the delivery of services across the borough.
“The agreement provides protections to our financial stability as only income over and above that we need to support our core services would be shared,” Councillor Orson added.
“It also includes review clauses should funding streams change.
“It represents an appropriate balance between our desire to support unprecedented infrastructure investment in Melton, alongside prudence and protection for the future of the council.
“Following the decision, officers will continue to work with the county council in finalising the legal agreement.”
Melton Council has already contributed £400,000 towards a business case for the MMDR, which led to the government announcing in May 2018 that it would fund £49.5million towards the cost of building the north and east sections, connecting the A606 Nottingham Road to Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road and the A607 Thorpe Road (A607) before re-joining the A606 Burton Road.
And a further £15million government funding was confirmed in November last year to enable construction of the southern section, which will link the A606 Burton Road with the A607 Leicester Road.
Preliminary works, including carrying out surveys and detailed site investigations and clearances, are scheduled to begin on the north and east routes this summer.