We have got it in writing: £30m to get Grantham’s bypass under way

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GRANTHAM’S east-west bypass may soon become a reality after the county council announced proposals to budget £30m for the long-awaited project.

The Lincolnshire County Council plans, which budget for the project in the 2013/14 to 2016/17 financial years, will be finalised on Tuesday.

And if approved the council hopes to start the work on the Grantham Southern Relief Road project as soon as possible within that timeframe. Leader of the council Martin Hill, said: “We recognise the importance of the road for the town and have made provision for it within our budget to help speed up its construction.”

The bypass, which is expected to link the A1 and the A52 south of the town – in what is being called the ‘Southern Quadrant’ –, forms just one aspect of the overall plan for the expansion of Grantham.

Cllr Hill said: “The Grantham Relief Road forms part of plans for 4,000 new homes in the south of the town, along with places like schools and doctors surgeries to support this community.

“We are working together with the landowners and South Kesteven District Council to look in detail at the finances involved, and we expect enough development will be generated to fund the new road.”

The council’s £30 million investment will be used to build the bypass but as houses are built and sold developers will be expected to return that money.

According to Cllr Hill this is the model that councils regularly use to help bring forward critical infrastructure projects, most recently the Lincoln Eastern Bypass.

But even if budget proposals are approved the bypass is not a certainty as planning applications would need to be submitted for every aspect of the project.

And it is certainly not the first time Grantham has been set for the bypass to be built.

In August 2007 the county council’s County News publicity organ reported that councillors were ‘very optimistic’ that the bypass would open to traffic within four years.

Cllr Hill was quoted at the time as saying: “If everything falls into place, we could see the road open by 2011/12.”

But the road or a fixed route, which is expected to be decided upon by the end of this year, are yet to be seen.

A council spokesman said: “This has been a priority and we’ve been keen to start it for some time. We wanted to start it sooner, however because of the recession, we’ve not had the house building to pay for the road as quickly as we had hoped for.

“The road will remove much of the heavy traffic in the centre of the town and allow environmental and economic improvements to take place.”