Another giant step was taken towards the building of Melton’s long-awaited bypass this afternoon (Friday) as councillors agreed to submit a planning application for the £63.5million relief road, which is on course to be open to traffic in the summer of 2022.
Members of Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet approved the preferred route, which would connect the A606 Nottingham Road with the A606 Burton Road, and gave the green light for plans to be submitted in September.
Slight changes to the so-called Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) were made following a public consultation, with the final road lay-out passing further away from Melton Country Park and being re-aligned to the north between Scalford Road and Melton Spinney Road to reduce impact on a proposed housing development allocated in the borough council’s draft Local Plan.
If the scheme is approved and relevant land can be acquired and compulsorily purchased in time, the council hopes work can begin building it in two years.
Councillor Byron Rhodes, member for Belvoir and a campaigner for a Melton bypass throughout his 40 years in local government, told today’s meeting: “The day has finally come where we are moving this road scheme forward significantly.
“It’s everything I ever dreamed of getting and if we can get the southern section built too it will finish the whole thing off.
“I am absolutely delighted we are moving it forward today.”
It is hoped a the southern relief road will be built at the same time as the MMDR and link-up with it, between the A606 Burton Road and A607 Leicester road, with most of the funding coming from developers planning to build new homes in that part of the town.
Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for highways and transport, told the meeting: “This is a huge scheme and a huge opportunity for us.
“Work is in progress to see if we can also provide the southern section, which will cost in the region of £40million.
“So we are looking at a scheme which could in the end cost more than £100million.”
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 the southern 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 four years.