Preferred route for £150m Carlisle relief road revealed
The route for a new £150m Carlisle relief road – hailed as they key to unlocking huge house building and investment – has been unveiled.
Cumbria County Council, which is leading the Southern Link Road project, have been considering two possible routes which will link the A595 west of the city with the M6 at junction 42.
The 8km road would be an important link if plans for a 10,000-home garden village to the south of the city go ahead.
Earlier this year a consultation was launched to gather feedback on the proposed routes with with more than 2,000 people attending public meetings and responding to a questionnaire.
It route will go from Peter Lane, through farmland over the Cumbrian coastal railway line to the south of Durdar and over the West Coast Mainline to the motorway.
The alternative, dubbed the ‘orange’ route, followed a similar path but took up land further to the north.
In part, the green route has chosen because it was more suited to delivering the proposed St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, being devised by Carlisle City Council.
As well as boosting the prospects of the garden village, the county council says the route has been chosen because it had a “significantly higher” level of public support, less impact on existing communities and the environment.
Keith Little, who holds the authority’s brief for highways and transport, said: “We’ve done extensive and detailed work to get to this point, carefully considering all the different factors in reaching this decision.
“Based on the evidence I believe this is the best choice and gives us certainty as the project moves forward.
“I’d particularly like to thank the thousands of people who took time to respond to the consultation or attend an event.
“The decision reflects the balance of public opinion and I can say with confidence that all feedback was considered carefully and will continue to inform the development of the designs for the road. Public feedback really has been invaluable.
“We’re clear that this road would provide significant benefits for Carlisle and the whole county, helping unlock both housing and economic growth.”
To go ahead the project needs a cash injection from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund and the scheme has moved through the next stage of bidding.
The project is competing with dozens of others proposed by local authorities across the country which are bidding for a share of the £5bn fund.
The county council will now work with Government officials to develop a business case, for the project which will be submitted to ministers later this year.
Alongside Government cash, funding will also be needed from other sources, including developers, to contribute towards the costs of realising the scheme.
If the funding is won, further public consultation on a more detailed route plan will be undertaken.
“We are now working closely with the Government, the city council and the local MP to develop the case further,” added Mr Little.
“I’m confident that we will make the best possible case and I hope Government will see the huge potential of this project.”
The leader of the city council, Colin Glover, said: “The public consultation was a great success and we’d like to thank everyone that took time to have their say.
“The confirmation of the preferred route is another important step forward for the development of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
“It will help inform the next stage of our consultation on the masterplan proposal, planned to take place this summer.”
City council officials have previously stressed the garden village scheme would not depend on the construction of the road.