Wellingborough Council plans to spend £1m getting long-awaited Isham bypass started

Wellingborough council plans to commit £1m to getting design and environmental assessments for the bypass drawn up.

By Sarah Ward
Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:39 am
25m of secured funding for the bypass was pulled in October 2018.
25m of secured funding for the bypass was pulled in October 2018.

The mythical Isham bypass could finally be brought to life after Wellingborough Council is planning to commit £1 million to get things started.

Hopes of the Isham bypass were once again dashed at the end of 2018 when Northamptonshire County Council and SEMLEP pulled the £25 million funding committed to the scheme and sent the road plan back to the drawing board.

But now the road plans could finally get started once and for all after Wellingborough Council’s leader Martin Griffith announced at the full council meeting last night (Feb 25) that the authority is planning to put up £1 million from the £10 million sale of land in Wellingborough North to pay for design work and assessments for the road.

Cllr Griffiths made the annoucement last night.

He said: “The council will be putting forward a £1 million capital bid to fund the design and development of strategic plans.

“This will be part of a report at March resources committee.

“We owe it to the people of our borough who have waited long enough for this scheme to be started.”

Cllr Griffith said a representative from Northamptonshire County Council, which has responsibility for highways, would be at the resources meeting to explain the current state of play with the bypass.

Cllr Scarborough said the responsibility for the road did not lie with the borough council but it as right for the authority to step forward to get things started.

The news was welcomed by all in the council chamber although Labour opposition leader Cllr Andrew Scarborough said while backing the proposal he regretted that the authority had to step in.

He said: “This is not our responsibility.

“The responsibility lies elsewhere.

“However if elsewhere cannnot, will not, or does not intend to deliver money then we owe it to our borough to step in.”

He added: “£1 million is not going to build the bypass.

“Absolutely not.

“When the person from the county council comes along to the next resources meeting I will have a lot of very hard questions about the level of faith NCC commits to this project.

“They have been playing ducks and drakes between the Isham Bypass and A43 improvements for as long as I have been on this council.”

Cllr Clive Hallam said the need for the road was first recorded 35 years ago but since then the only thing that has happened has been an increase in traffic.

Planning permission was given for the bypass ten years ago.

Cllr Graham Lawman said the authority should not let the road be downgraded to a single carriageway rather than the permitted dual road bypass.

Cllr Lora Lawman, who represents the Rixon ward, thanked the council for coming up with the idea.

The funds would be committed by Wellingborough Council ahead of the council being abolished in April next year and reforming as part of the new North Northants unitary authority.

At the meeting Cllr Griffiths admitted that if the funds were not spent they would go into the unitary pot, while Cllr Scarborough said he was aware that soon to be unitary colleagues in Kettering and Corby were focused on A43 improvements rather than the Isham bypass.