2020 will be a very important year for the Bypass. After nearly fifty years we are finally on the brink this key piece of local infrastructure being built.
Already this year the Secretary of State for Transport has confirmed to me, both in writing and in the House of Commons, that the Development Consent Order will be submitted at the end of this year. This is effectively the planning application for the scheme.
In addition, I met recently with the Highways England project team who informed me they will shortly be publishing the traffic and air quality figures showing the impact on the surrounding area of the Bypass being built. I believe these will show substantial traffic reductions on key local roads and there will be a chance for residents to formally respond to this information.
The vast majority of the properties that need to be purchased for the scheme to go ahead are already in the ownership of Highways England. This is due to the progress made the last time the Bypass was being developed and the work done by myself and the former MP for High Peak, Andrew Bingham, when we prevented these properties being sold back in 2010. Of the 28 properties that need to purchased only two transactions are outstanding.
Once the Development Consent Order is submitted a Planning Inspector will be appointed to carry out an examination and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. They have up to six months to carry out their examination, and a further three months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. I have a meeting with the Roads Minister shortly to encourage this process to be done as soon as possible. You can read more about it here if you are interested: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/
As soon as the Secretary of State approves the scheme construction can begin, which will take approximately two and half years.
Throughout this time, I will also be making the case for the second phase of the bypass to be approved by the Government. This will require them supporting it as part of the next phase of the Road Investment Strategy, known as ‘RIS2’ in transport jargon. We will know more about this after the Budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review.
So, whilst I know most people will only believe it when they can see it and drive on it, we are getting there. I told you I would never give up on this and I won’t.