IT was highly appropriate that Temple Sowerby general practitioner Gavin Young ...

Date: Saturday 18th March 2006

IT was highly appropriate that Temple Sowerby general practitioner Gavin Young and his son, James, were asked to perform the official start of work on the long-awaited village bypass on Thursday.

Dr. Young has been at the forefront of the campaign for the construction of the badly-needed road, particularly since his son was seriously hurt when he was hit by a lorry passing through the village more than 10 years ago.

It was a day to savour also for villagers, local councillors and other organisations who have also played a major role in helping a secure a route that will bring about a return to more normal life for residents of Temple Sowerby.

As Dr. Young himself pointed out, Temple Sowerby’s previous title as the “Queen of Westmorland villages” has long been tarnished by the ever-increasing amounts of traffic, particularly heavy goods vehicles, thundering through it on the A66. The bypass is expected to remove 95 per cent. of traffic an estimated 14,000 vehicles a day from the village, restoring relative peace and tranquillity and, more importantly, enhancing road safety.

The community might have been physically divided by the A66, which bisects the village, but it has been united in its resolve to secure a better quality of life for current residents and those of years to come.

It has been a long, hard fight, however. The Temple Sowerby bypass campaign first began around 40 years ago, and there have been many false dawns, despite the value of the bypass being accepted at a public inquiry. The villagers’ road to success has been littered with many, many pleas to government departments and instances of direct action, in particular traffic-halting demonstrations.

The most recent glitch came in the form of the spiralling cost of the new road but, thanks to the support of leading officials at the Highways Agency, the Government gave it the final go-ahead.

It could be around 20 months before villagers feel the benefit of the bypass, with an opening scheduled before Christmas, 2007, and the bill so far stands at around £39.6 million.

But for the long-suffering villagers of Temple Sowerby and motorists in general travelling on the dangerous A66 it will be worth every penny.