BREAKING: Government cash earmarked for Isham bypass

Heavy traffic on the A509 road through the small village of Isham in Northamptonshire. The village is still waiting on a bypass ENGNNL00120110405170305
Heavy traffic on the A509 road through the small village of Isham in Northamptonshire. The village is still waiting on a bypass ENGNNL00120110405170305
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The much-awaited Isham bypass is one step closer after more funding was earmarked for the project.

Campaigners have been fighting for a bypass around the village for decades but, despite a provisional 2017 start date, money has always been an issue.

Northants County Council bid for £10m in funding last year which has been successful. Whilst it has not been confirmed, it is understood that the council will receive the full amount.

MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone expressed his delight at the funding.

He said: “We have waited long enough for the Isham bypass and this is great news, not only for the people who live in Isham but also the people in the surrounding area.

“It’s fantastic that the Government is putting money towards it.”

Leader of Wellingborough Council, Cllr Martin Griffiths, said: “It’s a step in the right direction.

“If you go through Isham you can see how much it means to the people who live there because they have all of their signs up.”

The £38.5m project has already seen £15m secured from the government’s Growth Deal through the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, which has since merged with SEMLEP, in 2015.

Village campaigner Graham Rait said he was cautiously optimistic after hearing of the funding.

He said: “I am very pleased but the quote [of £38.5m] they are working with was in 2008.

“It’s good news but where’s the rest of the money? It’s got to come from somewhere.”

Northamptonshire County Council Leader, Cllr Heather Smith, who is also chairman of England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Transport Forum, said they hope to get the rest of the money through their Revolving Infrastructure Fund.

Cllr Smith said: “This is great news for Northamptonshire as this money is essential in helping fund this major project.

“In order for the county to continue to grow, the right infrastructure has to be in place but of course we need the help of government to get the large amounts of money which are necessary to build such schemes.

“As well as being able to facilitate growth and prosperity, such highways schemes are also important in relieving traffic congestion for local communities.

“It is anticipated that the remainder of the money will be secured through the council’s innovative Revolving Infrastructure Fund, which uses the money developers are required to pay when they build housing schemes.

“The Isham bypass is a priority scheme for the county council and we are committed to making it happen.”

The money has been earmarked as part of SEMLEP’s £59m in funding after they submitted a bid for it.

SEMLEP chief executive Stephen Catchpole said: “The Local Growth Fund money is essential to our ambitions of building a vibrant, successful and pioneering region which is leading the way in growing our local economy and creating thriving local communities whilst contributing significantly to the national economy.

“We look forward to building on that success with the latest round of funding and getting a new wave of projects up and running, helping to provide the infrastructure needed to bring about even more growth.”

Cars travelling between Wellingborough and Kettering currently have to go through Isham, leading to long tailbacks in either direction.

Each year villagers count traffic over a 24-hour period as part of their long-standing campaign for a bypass.

2016’s count saw 26,464 vehicle movements on the A509 through the village - up from 25,386 on the same date in 2015.