The extra section to the already approved north and east sections of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) had looked in doubt following a very public spat between Melton Borough Council and County Hall.
The county council had threatened to refuse government funding towards the £37.5million south link because it felt the borough council wasn’t underwriting enough of the risk and putting in place detailed plans to enable money to be recouped from developers building new homes in the town.
But those matters have now been ironed out and County Hall announced this week that it would now accept £18.2 million in funding from the government towards the south section, which would connect Burton Road with the A607 Leicester Road.
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Borough leader, Councillor Joe Orson, said: “After many months of incredibly hard work by all involved, I am absolutely delighted that Leicestershire County Council has signed the agreement for funding with Homes England and now has the green light for the southern section of the road.
“We know this has been such an important issue for our community, and given the financial risks involved, it has not been easy, but I am so proud of the way we have all worked together to ensure this could proceed.”
Councillor Deborah Taylor, deputy leader at County Hall, said: “This is good news and I’m pleased we’ve been able to get this over the line.
“There’s still some way to go but if successfully delivered, the new roadway is expected to ease traffic congestion in Melton and unlock the construction of significant amounts of new homes.”
The county council now needs to acquire land to build the road, which it is hoped will be completed by 2025 if planning permission is secured.
Construction of the north and east sections, which are already full funded and have planning consent, are now subject to a final business case being submitted and government approval, which is expected by the end of next year.
The overall MMDR project will represent an investment into Melton of around £160million.
MP Alicia Kearns commented: “The confirmation that the MMDR will be delivered, in full, is the most amazing early Christmas present for Melton.
“I know just how hard it’s been to get this project to this stage – and I take my hat off to Councillor Joe Orson for finding common ground with the County Council.
“This road is one of the tools that will help unlock Melton’s potential – giving us not just the transport infrastructure that we deserve, but better connectivity with the East Midlands in general.
“After being talked about for so long, I’m beyond proud that Melton is finally going to get its bypass.”