[P]lans for the new Carlisle Southern Link Road received a major boost today with news that the scheme has been selected by Government to move to the next stage of its funding bid.
The decision follows the council’s submission of an Expression of Interest to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund earlier this year. As a result of today’s decision the council will now work with government officials to develop an Outline Business Case which will make the case for the investment required. The Outline Business Case will then be submitted for a final funding decision. The council’s bid will be competing against schemes from other parts of the country, so while today’s news is welcome, funding is not guaranteed. No timescale has yet been announced for this process.
The announcement comes as the council is reviewing feedback gathered through the recent consultation on route options for the new road. The consultation received a strong response, with over 1000 people attending drop-in sessions at Carlisle Racecourse and The Lanes, and over 1000 completing the consultation questionnaire. A report on the consultation findings will be published in due course.
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “This is great news. It was critical that we got over this first hurdle; we have, and that says a lot about the strength of the case we’ve made so far for building this new strategic link road.
“We’re clear that it would provide significant benefits for Carlisle and the whole county, helping unlock both housing and economic growth. We will continue working closely with the government department, the city council and the local MP to develop the case further.
“It will be even tougher to succeed at this next stage in the funding bid, as councils from across the country will also be doing all they can to promote their schemes. But I’m confident that we will make the best possible case and I hope government will see the huge potential of this project. I’d also like to thank everyone who took part in the recent consultation, it was positive to see so many people getting engaged.”