Spalding Western Relief Road's £57million guarantor and 'forward funder' is Lincolnshire County Council
The cost of building the first two sections of Spalding's planned £100million Western Relief Road (SWRR) is effectively being underwritten by the county, the Lincolnshire Free Press can reveal.
During a meeting of South Holland district councillors on Wednesday, confirmation was given that the bill for SWRR's northern and southern sections is included in Lincolnshire County Council's £375million capital programme over the next five to ten years.
It also emerged how critical SWRR's completion is to an overall plan for housing development in South Holland, and south-east Lincolnshire, over the next 20 years.
A report about the relief road, for which district councillors agreed to contribute £1million towards its construction during Wednesday's meeting, stated that the new 2011-2036 South East Lincolnshire Local Plan was given the go-ahead by government planning inspectors "on the basis of guaranteeing delivery of SWRR".
Speaking to the Lincolnshire Free Press, Lincolnshire County Council leader Coun Martin Hill said: "We've been talking about having a western bypass in Spalding for some time and we wanted to make sure that it was the best solution for the area.
"Now that planning permission has been granted for both northern and southern sections, we can start to think about making a start on section five."
The county council's planning and regulation committee gave its approval for the northern section (five), from the B1356 Spalding Road to Vernatts Drain where a 4,000-home development is planned, to be built during a meeting last Monday.
Committee members also gave their go-ahead for construction of a southern section (one) between the B1172 Spalding Common and a site for 2,250 homes currently being built at Holland Park, off Broadway.
The Government, through its Homes England body, is putting up £12million towards section five, with a further £1million coming from the district council.
But the remaining £14.6million, out of a total estimated cost for the northern section of £27.6million, is to be paid for by the county council, along with the £29.1million bill for the southern section, making the county council's total an estimated (£43.7million).
Coun Hill said: "We looked very carefully at our capital programme over the next five to ten years, in terms of what is affordable, alongside the Lincoln Eastern Bypass (estimated cost of £120 million) and the Grantham Southern Relief Road (estimated cost of £102million).
"A lot of the money for SWRR will be borrowed, at cheaper interest rates for local government authorities.
"But we've worked out what is affordable and we're confident that we can manage a capital programme of between £130million and £140million a year over the next five to ten years."
Coun Hill confirmed that developers involved in both the Holland Park and Vernatts Drain house building schemes would sign "legal agreements" with South Holland District Council (as the area's planning authority) to pay back the costs for sections one and five.
"We anticipate that both sections of SWRRs will be mostly paid for by developers' contributions but also, at the same time, we don't really want to build houses without the roads to service them properly," Coun Hill said.
"The total cost of the two sections is in the order of nearly £60million and we've had a £12million contribution towards section five from Homes England through its Housing and Infrastructure Fund.
"Lincolnshire County Council will pay for the rest of it and then get the developers' contributions as they come in, bearing in mind how long it takes for the houses to come.
"But even if a developer fails or goes into liquidation, any planning permission will be taken over by someone else and they will have the obligation of paying the money back."
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) has given an update on the possibility of planning permissions for sections one and five being "called in" for review by the Secretary of State.
A spokesman at the Ministry said: "The Secretary of State has received requests to call in the planning applications and he will now consider whether he should do so for his own determination.
"A decision will be announced in due course."
. What do you think?Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
More by this authorWinston Brown