A multi-million pound scheme for a new bypass that will improve safety on the A19 and improve access into Hartlepool has taken a major step forward.
A funding strategy for the Elwick Bypass scheme, also known as the Hartlepool Western Growth Corridor, was approved by councillors at a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council.
The scheme, which also includes plans for a grade separated junction on the A19, will cost £18.5 million.
The council has secured a £4.172 million grant from the Tees Valley Combined Authority and a further grant totalling £4.173 million is currently being considered.
Councillors at the full council meeting agreed to fund the remaining £10.161 million of the cost via prudential borrowing which will be fully repaid with monies received from developers of housing land in the area, expected over a seven-ten year period.
It is anticipated that a planning application for the bypass and junction will be submitted early next year.
Full Council also agreed to the use of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers to secure the land needed for the bypass and junction in the event of negotiations with owners breaking down.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, welcomed approval of the funding strategy, saying: “This is one of the most important decisions to be taken by the Council in recent times.
“At present, Highways England has placed a holding restriction on future housing developments affecting Elwick village and the A19 junctions until completion of new the bypass and junction.
“Approval of the funding strategy means we can now press ahead with the construction of both which will improve the capacity and safety of the local road network.
“The financial implications of this decision are huge as housing growth will generate increased council tax income to help maintain council services following nine consecutive years of cuts to the funding we receive from Central Government.”
Commenting on the possible use of CPO powers, he added: “Acquiring land by agreement would always be our preferred approach but we need to keep our options open in the event that we are unable to do so.”