Date: Saturday 8th April 2000

A BYPASS around Temple Sowerby on the A66 looked a stage closer this week as the Highways Agency announced that surveys will be carried out so that it can present information to the Government to get a final decision on whether and when work can go ahead.

Landowners whose property will be affected have already been approached to gain their permission to carry out topographical, traffic, environmental and archaeological surveys along the preferred route.

The Highways Agency says the results will be used to back up the publication of draft orders for the line of the road, alterations to the sides of the roads and compulsory purchase of land, which it intends to publish in 2001-2002.

Leaflets were sent out to Temple Sowerby householders this week, informing them of the latest moves and telling them that they will be invited to comment on the proposals when they are finalised.

A public inquiry could also be held so that an independent inspector can consider any objections and report back to the transport minister.

Proposals to provide a bypass for Temple Sowerby were first investigated in 1974, but they have been allowed to lapse or have been deferred over the years. A preferred route was adopted in September, 1994, so that other developments on the land were prevented, but still no action was taken. In July, 1998, the Government’s “New Deal for Trunk Roads in England” included the bypass as a scheme to be progressed, but no timescale was set out.

The latest moves look certain to lead to a definite decision on the bypass within the next two or three years.

Tony Richardson, senior engineer for the county council’s highways department, said: “We are anxious to see the improvement carried out as soon as possible because of the accident problems along the whole of the A66 and at Temple Sowerby.

“Ultimately we would like to see the whole road improved, but this is the first section that we are likely to see any substantial improvement on in the near future.”