Long-awaited plans to link two main roads in Northampton could finally go ahead after the Government awarded the county council an extra £20 million for infrastructure improvements.
It was announced today (Monday) that the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership has been awarded Local Growth Deal investment of £67.3 million.
As part of the announcement, the Government has given Northamptonshire County Council £20.6 million.
This money will be used to help fund a number of schemes in the county, including the linking of St James Mill Road and Towcester Road, leading to improved access to the M1 and M45 and reduced congestion on Cobblers and Saints matchdays.
Other schemes set to benefit include the A45 Daventry Development Link, improvements to the A43 north of Northampton and a new business centre in Silverstone.
The money will be available to the local authority from April 2015 following a successful bid by the county council via the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.
Provisional allocations from April 2016 have also been made for a number of other schemes including improvements to travel information involving the use of new technology, local bus networks, and improved access to Wootton Hall Park, allowing for housing and education developments.
Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said in May his office (OPCC) had set aside £500,000 to build a new roundabout at the entrance to the current police headquarters in Northampton.
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Jim Harker, said: “I’m delighted that this money has been made available to the county and it will allow us to take a significant step forward with these initiatives which are essential in boosting the economy of Northamptonshire.
“We’ve seen significant progress in recent years with getting infrastructure projects off the ground and now the economic rejuvenation is starting to gather speed with tangible results all over Northamptonshire.”
Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said he was pleased with the funding for the St James link but would still like to deliver this sooner than 2016, so he said he would continue to seek funding for this and to lobby Network Rail to ensure a stretch of rail line which obstructs this development is decommissioned and transferred.
He said: “Many businesses in the St James Mill Road area rely on the transport network to take delivery of materials and distribute their products. They are currently forced to head west for access to the M1, but this new road would offer an alternative, plus easier connection to routes east via the A45, while improvements to the A43 will improve traffic flows to the north of the borough.”
Jo Lappin, chief executive of NEP said it was an “exciting day” for the county.
She said: It’s great to see Northamptonshire punching well above its weight when it comes to securing funding.
“This is a vote of confidence for the county, its people and businesses and our ability to deliver growth. This gives us a mandate to target investment where it counts, driving economic growth, which will mean more jobs and real opportunity for local people.”
The Growth Deal will also provide funding to extend the Superfast Northamptonshire project to the final 10 per cent of premises in the county including all 60 business parks across Northamptonshire.