Timetable set out for bypass

THE timetable for the completion of the Morpeth Northern Bypass has been set out.

Funding for the new road, which will link the A197 at Whorral Bank to the A1 south of Fairmoor, has already been secured, with the Department for Transport contributing £21million and Northumberland County Council picking up the rest of the tab, estimated at more than £10million.

County officials had also submitted a planning application for the scheme, but that has been withdrawn as the proposal can only be considered by the Secretary of State.

Now, work is under way to prepare an application for a Development Consent Order, which would unify the range of permissions previously required.

Preparation work will include additional ecological and environmental studies and a review of the design options, followed by consultation with residents and stakeholders on the different options in the late summer.

The application is then scheduled to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in the autumn and representations will be invited over the winter. Next spring the inspector will meet with interested parties and written representations will be considered, before a decision is made in summer 2013.

If approval is granted, construction work would begin in spring 2014 and the bypass would be completed by winter 2015.

Council executive member for Infrastructure and the Environment Simon Reed said: “The pre-application stage that we are in now is an important one. A lot of work is being undertaken by the county council to prepare for the Development Consent Order and as part of this, it is vital that we consult with stakeholders and residents later this summer.

“This will allow us to discuss different aspects of the scheme in more detail and we will be asking for feedback on the different options for some parts of the development ahead of our submission.”

To keep up to date with the bypass plans visit www.morpethnorthernbypass.org