£11m for scheme

FUNDING of up to £11million could be found from council coffers to progress a major Morpeth road scheme.

Northumberland County Council is looking to provide the cash through its five-year Medium Term Capital Programme in a bid to secure the Government go-ahead for the Morpeth Northern Bypass.

The project, which is predicted to cost a total of £37 million, has been accepted into the Development Pool by the Department for Transport, which hopes to fund the majority of schemes in the pool.

However, the cost exceeds the budget so local councils have been told they must find at least 30 per cent of the funds required. Bids must be submitted by September in a competitive process.

The county’s Executive is being asked to approve the preparation of a detailed business case and set aside funds as part of a wider £42million package.

If approved, the bypass will provide a link between the A1 and south east Northumberland, reducing traffic congestion in Morpeth, improving access and opening up the potential for housing and business development.

Council Executive Member Ian Lindley said: “The South East Northumberland Link Road is a great idea. It will relieve some of the traffic issues in Morpeth and open up Pegswood and Ashington for development.”

Town councillor David Parker said: “The Department for Transport funding contribution is not quite solid at this stage, but none the less, this means that the county council is prepared to do its part and that is going to encourage the Government.

“The road is going to be of tremendous value to the town because we know that 20 per cent of the traffic coming through is not stopping.”

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade member Charles Robinson said: “The Chamber is delighted that it looks like the South East Northumberland Link Road is going ahead.”