[P]lans for a new roundabout on the A590 west of Cross-a-Moor took a major step forward today with the announcement from Highways England that the county has been successful in its bid for £3m of funding.
The improvements, worth just over £67 million in total, will help create 4,387 job opportunities and almost 1,500 homes in Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire and Devon as well as at Ulverston in Cumbria and Wigan in Greater Manchester.
Highways England is making a £16.6 million contribution towards the schemes from its Growth and Housing Fund, alongside private sector developer contributions and other public funding making up the rest.
The two North West towns will share in £8 million from Highways England to help fund a £5 million new roundabout at Cross-a-Moor near Ulverston and contribute to a new road link between the outskirts of Wigan and the M6 and M58 at Orrell Interchange. Both schemes should be completed by the end of 2020.
For the past two years Cumbria County Council has been working closely with Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership and South Lakeland District Council to develop the plans and the funding bid. The new roundabout is required to support the delivery of over 1,000 new homes at the south of the town.
The total cost of the improvement is estimated at £5m. With £3m now secured from the Highways England Growth and Housing Funding (GHF), the remainder will come from £1.7m of developer contributions, and £300,000 from South Lakeland District Council.
Detailed design work will now begin and, as part of this, dialogue with local landowners will be undertaken.
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted with this announcement. In the past week the council has secured £4.67m of national investment in our highways infrastructure and that is fantastic news. We’ve worked closely with the LEP, South Lakeland District Council and Highways England on this bid and it’s encouraging to see that paying off. If the county is to meet the demands of a growing population we need our vital infrastructure to be able to cope, this new roundabout will make big difference as this new housing is developed.”
Cllr Janet Willis, Local Member for Low Furness and Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue, said: “I’m delighted with this announcement. I have been campaigning for improvements to this junction for many years and it’s great to see that paying off. This should significantly reduce the number accidents at this spot, and the disruption caused to local people when the road has to be closed as a result. I look forward to works getting underway.”
Cllr Graham Vincent, South Lakeland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Assets, said: “The council’s contribution to the junction improvements demonstrates our commitment to support growth in the local economy, deliver new employment opportunities and improve the lives of people living in this area.
“We have a key council commitment to help create 1,000 new affordable homes for rent in South Lakeland by 2025. The housing being planned for that area of Ulverston represents about 20% of all the new homes to be built in the entire district.
“The improvements at Cross-a-Moor will be a critical component, improving accessibility and helping SLDC to support and deliver its wider plans and ambitions.”
Graham Haywood, Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an important investment which will help enable and accelerate the delivery of 1,000 new homes. It’s also another key milestone in the development and improvement of the A590 and is part of our overall transport infrastructure strategy for the area. Road improvements like this are crucial for safety and for keeping key routes between business and employment hubs fit for purpose. The A590 is of major importance to employers like BAE Systems and GSK Ulverston to ensure better strategic connectivity to the M6 corridor, attract new investment and support business growth.”
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “Each of these improvements will ensure England’s strategic road network continues to make a valuable contribution to the prosperity of our country.
“We will continue to use our Growth and Housing Fund, working with a range of local stakeholders to unlock further development sites around the country.”
The designated £100 million fund was set up as part of the government’s £15 billion investment in roads and provides financial contributions towards the cost of road improvements needed for new developments that provide new jobs and much needed homes.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Transport investment is crucial to a strong and resilient economy – that’s why we are making the biggest investment in roads in a generation, spending £23 billion across the country to improve journeys for motorists.
“These upgrades from Highways England will benefit the regions, giving a boost to businesses and better access to the jobs and homes that people want.”
This designated fund is part of Highways England’s award-winning “The Road to Growth” strategic economic growth plan. The plan received national recognition from the Institute of Economic Development (IED) for having the “greatest economic impact” at their 2017 annual awards ceremony.
The two North West schemes announced today are:
M58 Wigan Link Road (Greater Manchester): This package of work is designed to improve accessibility in the area, help to reduce congestion and create smoother journeys for drivers. The link road will create a new high profile gateway into Wigan town centre from the M58/M6 and connect a number of key employment sites to the strategic highways network, bringing the opportunity to create new jobs and contribute to economic growth. The scheme will be funded by a combination of public and private sector contributions, including £5 million from the Growth and Housing Fund and £10.9 million from Greater Manchester Growth Deal. The new link road is currently planned to open to traffic by the end of 2020.
A590 Cross-a-moor (Cumbria): This scheme will see an upgrade of the existing junction at Cross-a-Moor, Cumbria into a four arm roundabout which will provide a number of key local development sites with direct access to the A590 trunk road. The £5,055,000 scheme has been allocated £3,050,000 from the Growth and Housing Fund, £2,035,000 in third-party match funding which will include £1,735,000 of private funding and £300,000 from South Lakeland District Council. The scheme will also unlock 106 local homes, and three further sites with the potential to deliver 895 new homes in the future.
Highways England’s Growth and Housing Fund has so far made contributions of over £77 million, unlocking over 38,000 new homes and more than 44,000 jobs across England.