Triumphant Temple Sowerby

Date: Saturday 4th December 2004

THE money for the long-awaited Temple Sowerby bypass was finally approved by the Government this week, as part of a £700 million investment in transport schemes in the North West over the next three years.

The bypass is one of three major highways schemes in the North West to be given funding in the period from April 2005-08, two of which are in Cumbria the other being a bypass of High and Low Newton on the A590 in the south of the county.

The Temple Sowerby bypass, which is expected to cost about £23 million, will help reunite a village which has been divided by a constant stream of traffic for decades, as well as addressing the poor accident record on that stretch of the A66.

Its construction will be the culmination of about 30 years of campaigning by villagers, some of whom were only children when the protests started.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said: “This funding will enable councils across the region to invest in the transport schemes needed to support their growing economies. It will also help make local roads better and safer and public transport a more attractive and reliable alternative to the car. Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government’s continuing commitment to investing in local transport in the North West.”

The planned bypass will start from a new junction with the Cliburn road at the west end through to a new junction at the eastern end linking with the Morland road. It will be dual carriageway.

Highways Agency spokesman Clive Naish this week said the contract had been out to tender and should be awarded by the end of February. Work will start as soon as the successful firm can mobilise the necessary resources, possibly by the end of next summer.

He added that it was a major project and would take some time to complete.

POINT OF NO RETURN

According to the spokesman for the action group which has been pressing for the bypass, Temple Sowerby GP Dr. Gavin Young, there was “undiluted joy” in the village at this week’s announcement.

He said: “I’ve been involved with this for 21 years and we’ve never had such good news. It’s the point of no return now and we’re delighted.”

He added that it would be a great disappointment if work on the bypass did not start next year, since there had already been many delays.

Speaking at a meeting of Eden local committee on Thursday, county councillor Philip Chappelhow (Con., Penrith) said: “We were all pleased to hear the news about Temple Sowerby this week, but I will believe it when I see the sods being turned over.”