£10m-a-year cash-pot to repair county’s road network

THE county council will have a pot of around £10million a year to spend on road maintenance over the next four years.

Transport budgets and spending for the period from 2011 to 2015 are detailed as part of Northumberland County Council’s Local Transport Plan, which was approved by the executive on Monday.

The plan also details the type of projects that the county will be developing in line with the Governement’s five national transport goals.

Among the proposed actions to help support economic growth are continuing to lobby for the dualling of the A1 and supporting the provision of cycle hubs at Wooler.

Rail travel is also highlighted with plans to lobby for and support the development of rail services, in particular to Newcastle, to support the development of local stations and to investigate funding for a new station at Belford.

The county council is also going to review the effectiveness of 20 mile-per-hour speed limits outside schools and potentially roll these out across Northumberland.

Central government funding for transport has been overhauled since the Spending Review last year and the number of funding streams reduced to four.

In block funding, Northumberland County Council will receive £14million this year for highways maintenance and £1.8million for integrated transport while a bid is being prepared for around £4.7million, to be split over the next four years, from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

The completion of the Morpeth Northern Bypass is the only project eligible for major scheme funding but a final bid is due in September this year.