Bypass Planning Will Continue Despite Funding Diffculties

PUBLISHED: 14:27 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 13:19 02 June 2010

PLANNING for Ely s Southern Link Road will continue despite warnings from a senior transport officer that it could be at another decade before it is finally delivered. John Onslow, Executive Director for Transport at the county council, insisted that desp

PLANNING for Ely's Southern Link Road will continue despite warnings from a senior transport officer that it could be at another decade before it is finally delivered.

John Onslow, Executive Director for Transport at the county council, insisted that despite recent revelations that securing funding for the link road was unlikely within the next decade, work on planning the scheme would continue,

"At the moment it is difficult to see that funds coming forward but what we have to bear in mind is that funding can come from a number of sources, he said.

"Like all similar transport schemes at the moment it is hard to secure funding because of the financial situation but we are still working closely with the district council on planning the scheme and exploring funding possibilities.

"Within the next decade the plans for the scheme will be in place but when a bypass comes forward it is difficult to say because it would have to go hand-in-hand with the development of Ely."

The news comes after it emerged that Graham Hughes, a senior transport officer at Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), told members that problems securing funding for the link road would make it unlikely that it would be delivered for at least a decade.

Mr Hughes said that potential Government cuts of up to 60 per cent in the road funding allocation (RFA) and the schemes poor score on the region's list of transport priorities would mean the link road would struggle to secure Government funding and as such, cheaper options were being explored.

The idea of the £25 million link road, which has proved an integral part of the new Ely Masterplan, was to ease the problem of traffic congestion at the city's railway station and overpass, which the council predicts could be shut for up to 55 minutes in the hour by the end of the decade.

Ian Allen, transport spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "The Liberal Democrat group has been saying for years that this scheme was bottom of the region's funding priorities and as such it would struggle to find the money it needs.

"I am not against any road development but what I can't understand is why this council is wasting time on a scheme which is going nowhere and cannot be funded."

"I just hope that the council doesn't ignore this and realises that something needs to be done. If they came up with an interim measure that was sensibly priced then I would be happy to support it.


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