Isham bypass given provisional 2017 start date

The village of Isham could have the bypass its residents have wanted for decades as soon as October 2018 if vital funds can be secured

The village of Isham could have the bypass its residents have wanted for decades as soon as October 2018 if vital funds can be secured

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The village of Isham could have the bypass its residents have wanted for decades as soon as October 2018 if vital funds can be secured.

The village of Isham could have the bypass its residents have wanted for decades as soon as October 2018 if vital funds can be secured.

Plans have been put in place to start work on the A509 Wellingborough Development Link by April 2017, should design and legal processes be completed.

The £38.5m project has already seen £15m secured from the government’s Growth Deal through the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP).

Speaking in Parliament, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone posed the question of planned start dates for the scheme to Department for Transport Parliamentary Under-Secretary Andrew Jones.

Mr Jones responded: “The latest information provided by Northamptonshire County Council, the promoters of the A509 Wellingborough Development Link which contains the proposed Isham Bypass, is that subject to the successful completion of any remaining design and legal process, and approval by my department, work could start on site in April 2017 and the scheme open in October 2018.”

NEP’s chief executive Jo Lappin told the Northants Telegraph to expect further information in the Autumn Spending Review on November 25.

She said: “These are the dates that are provisionally being looked at but they have not been confirmed by the Government.

“Further information may be announced in the formal Autumn Statement but we have secured part of the funds for the bypass through the Growth Deal.

“That still leaves a shortfall of £23.5m which will need to be made up by a range of sources and local authorities.”

Where that shortfall could be made up from is yet to be decided.

Traffic passing through Isham has been a contentious issue for residents for a number of years, with cars on the main through road often sat in gridlock at peak times.

At the start of the month a 24-hour vehicle count by the Isham Bypass Action Group saw 25,367 vehicles pass through the village, a 10 per cent increase on their previous count four years ago.

Group leader Graham Rait said: “It’s definitely positive news but I’m not entirely confident it will start as early as that.

“We’ve been told that it could happen before so many times, but it’s always ‘could’ and never ‘would’ unfortunately.

“It’s great to see our local MP and the county council taking this on and getting involved.

“All we as a group can do is keep almost harrassing those with the power to make the decision and we’ll be sending the vehicle count figures out to them soon.”

MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone said: “I’m really chuffed to hear that work on the Isham bypass could start by April 2017.

“We’ve been keen on road building and Isham desperately needs this with the Wellingborough North development.

“I’m reasonably sure there is something in this and it will be approved and I will follow it up with letters to the relevant ministers.

“This is really positive news and it is long overdue.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The Isham bypass is a priority scheme for Northamptonshire County Council and it is important for not only the residents of Isham but to also support further growth in the county.

“Recently £15m of Growth Fund money has been secured through the Government’s Growth Deal through Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership for this scheme but as it would cost about £38m to build, this leaves a funding gap.

“Work is now under way to see how extra funding can be obtained.”