A preferred route for the planned £63.5million Melton bypass has today (Monday) been agreed and a planning application will be submitted this summer.
Leicestershire County Council confirmed that the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) will run to the north and east of Melton, starting on the A606 Nottingham Road and crossing Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road and Thorpe Road (A607) before rejoining the A606 Burton Road.
The announcement comes after a public consultation last year and further discussions with landowners and key stakeholders, with the resulting preferred route differing slightly from the recommended route submitted to the Department of Transport.
The road will now be moved further away from Melton Country Park and there will be close consultation with Natural England and the Environment Agency to minimise the impact on the River Eye site of special scientific interest by diverting the river to the south of its current location.
Plans for the new preferred route will also involve re-aligning the route to the north between Scalford Road and Melton Spinney Road to reduce impacts on a proposed housing development allocated in the borough council’s draft Local Plan.
Melton Council leader, Councillor Joe Orson, said: “The views of the residents have been vital to shaping the route and these changes help us to protect the country park and enable us to deliver the housing aspirations outlined in our Local Plan.
“It is fantastic that these plans are now coming to fruition and we can see the delivery of the bypass now in sight.”
Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We believe we are striking the balance between supporting a scheme which boosts town growth and reducing the environmental impacts.
“The preferred route has been developed after gaining a lot of feedback, including talking to landowners, developers and other interested parties.”
The government has already committed funding of £49.5million for the MMDR with £14million coming from local authorities, including £400,000 from the borough council, and from developer contributions for new housing.
County Hall has also made a successful expression of interest to another government funding stream - the Housing Infrastructure Fund - for financial support to develop a road programme in the south of Melton to link with the MMDR.
The county’s own planning authority will consider the proposals for the route and it is hoped the road will be completed in 2022.