It’s been talked about in Melton for more than half-a-century but the green light could finally be given for a town bypass this year.
Proposals for the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) will soon be discussed by planners at Leicestershire County Council and this week residents are getiing the opportunity to look at at detailed plans for the scheme, which will divert traffic away from the town to the east by linking up with main routes to Nottingham, Grantham and Oakham.
Drop-in information events are being held at Melton Council’s offices on Monday and on October 19 and 20.
There will be maps on display, detailed plans and the opportunity to view a computer-generate drone flight over the planned route.
Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We realise that people may have comments or queries about specific aspects of the planning application proposals, and we are happy to try and address these at the drop-in events so we would really encourage people to come along.”
Councillor Leigh Higgins, deputy leader of the borough council, also encouraged local people to attend one of the drop-in events, adding: “Improvements to roads and transport are key to the future prosperity of the town and surrounding areas.”
In this special feature we have endeavoured to answer the questions readers are likely to ask about the scheme, which could be opened to traffic as early as 2022.
Q What is the route of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road?
It will run from the A606 Nottingham Road and cross Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road and Thorpe Road (A607) before rejoining the A606 at Burton Road.
Q How many lanes will there be on the new road?
It will be a two-way single carriageway with a speed limit of 50mph. Melton MP, Sir Alan Duncan, has criticised the planned limit and suggested it should be a faster route.
Q What kind of junctions are planned at the intersections with the main routes?
There will be six roundabouts built - at the junctions with the A606 Nottingham Road, Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road (neat Twinlakes theme park), the A607 Melton Road (heading towards Grantham), Saxby Road and the A606 Burton Road.
Q Was the original design altered and what were the changes made?
Following a public consultation it was decided to move the MMDR route further away from Melton County Park to give greater environmental protection for the benefit of users and wildlife and minimise the impact on the River Eye. There was also a re-alignment of the route to the north between Scalford Road and Melton Spinney Road to lessen the impact on a proposed housing development allocated in the borough council’s Local Plan.
Q Is funding in place for the MMDR and who is paying for it?
The MMDR wil cost £63.5million with £49.5million of this being paid by the government’s Department for Transport. The remaining £14million will come from local authorities, including £400,000 from Melton Council, and from developer contributions for new housing.
Q What is the timetable for building road?
After the current consultation process, feedback will be fed back to the developers ahead of the planning application being considered by County Hall’s own planning committee, probably later this year. Land is currently being bought along the route and compulsory purchase orders made where required. If approval is given it is hoped building work on the road will begin in the spring of 2020, with the road then being opened two years later. Long-term bypass campaigner Byron Rhodes, a member of both the borough and county councils, told the Melton Times earlier this year he wants to be able to drive down the MMDR on his 80th birthday, on May 23, 2022.
Q How can I see detailed plans and make my comments known to local authorities?
The county council’s environment and transport department is holding information drop-in events at Melton Council’s Parkside offices on Monday (1.30pm to 8.30pm), Friday October 19 (1.30pm to 8.30pm) and Saturday October 20 (10am to 3.30pm). Comments can be made to officials there. If you can’t attend of the drop-ins, go online to www.leicestershire.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/road-maintenance/melton-mowbray-distributor-road-scheme to see the plans and comment.
Q The MMDR appears to be a partial bypass - are there any plans to build a complete bypass route around Melton?
It is hoped a southern link road will be built at the same time as the MMDR, linking it to the A607 Leicester Road. County Hall has applied for a contribution from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund for this road, with the majority of the funding to be paid by developers planning to build around 2,000 new homes to the south of Melton. There are no plans at present for a relief road to the west of the town.