MP ‘aghast’ at council’s threat to refuse bypass funding
Melton’s MP says she’s ‘aghast’ at the county council’s intention to refuse millions of pounds of government funding to help pay for a southern link to the approved partial bypass of the town.
Alicia Kearns was reacting to today’s news coming out of County Hall which places significant doubt over whether the south section will now be built to connect with the north and east routes of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) which should be open in three years.
The county council says it cannot afford to pay the required £55million forward funding for the schools and other infrastructure needed for the development and it blamed Melton Borough Council for not helping shoulder underwriting the cost and failing to ensure a proper plan was in place to help it recoup the money from developer contributions.
We reported earlier today how the borough council had reacted angrily to the county council’s stance, which is expected to be ratified at a meeting next week.
And Mrs Kearns has now backed the borough council’s calls for the county council to accept the £15million funding and enable the £28million south section to go ahead.
She said in a statement: “The people of Melton deserve better than this and I am aghast at the proposal to refuse government funds to deliver the long-awaited MMDR in full.
“We are so close to achieving this goal but Leicestershire County Council risks failing to hold up its end of the bargain and its duties to Melton.
“That’s not fair on the people of Melton.
“I urge Leicestershire County Council not to reject the £15million grant the government has offered to make the MMDR happen and for the cabinet to vote in the best interests of the communities of Melton and Leicestershire.
“To refuse these funds is for County Hall to let down the people of Melton and slam the door on the government’s efforts to stand by the people of Melton.
“I call on Leicestershire County Council’s councillors to do the right thing.”
Melton Borough Council today launched an online petition in late bid to build public support and convince County Hall to accept the funding.
Councillor Orson added: “Today I am launching a petition which asks the people of Melton to show the local strength of feeling and to call upon the county council’s cabinet not to walk away from the borough and to accept the funding so we can see the southern section of the relief road built.
“We must unite to convince the county council to uphold the promise they made to our residents.
“We have seven days to save the road.”
Go to http://chng.it/hbWZKv6Crv if you would like to sign the petition - you have just seven days to sign it before next week’s County Hall meeting on the bypass funding.
County Hall released a second statement this afternoon to defend its position on the issue.
A spokesperson said: “The county council has always wanted to see the road built.
“The problem is affordability of the highway and education infrastructure required by new housing development in Melton.
“The cabinet report makes clear that county council was prepared to take a risk on funding the road, the grant for which only covered part of the cost.
“That, however, was dependent on the borough council ensuring that the county council would not be out of pocket through funding the extra schools required by the housing development the road would serve.
“Melton is the local planning authority and it would be possible for Melton to provide that assurance through the consequences of its own decisions on the financial contributions from developers.
“It was not possible to reach agreement with Melton on that important point.”