A LONG-running proposal to build a northern relief road for Kendal has been resurrected by the town council in the wake of traffic chaos caused by the floods.

Councillors voted to lobby the government for funds for the multi-million pound project at their meeting on Monday night.

A motion put forward by Cllr Sylvia Emmott said the authority should work with South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria County Council to prepare and submit a proposal to government within the next financial year.

It also said the case for the road should include an investigation into whether any necessary embankments might also serve as flood defences

The motion was approved unanimously, with councillors describing the scheme as ‘absolutely vital’.

Cllr Giles Archibald said the situation in Kendal since the closure of Victoria Bridge showed how vulnerable the town is to traffic disruption.

He said: “Whenever a traffic light fails or a bridge needs repairing, traffic piles up.”

Cllr Shirley Evans said: “Without a northern development route Kendal is in serious trouble.

“It immediately ticks three boxes – it would help the town’s businesses to thrive, it could be part of flood defences and it could help improve the air quality in Kendal.


“This is an opportunity for us to get the ball rolling – if not now, when are we going to get this on the agenda for the Government?”

Cllr David Evans told the meeting: “The town has really struggled over the past few weeks and it’s absolutely clear we need this.”

Also supporting the proposal, Cllr Jonathan Brook said: “The northern relief road has been much talked about for many years, but unfortunately the funds have gone elsewhere. Now is the right time to give impetus to this important project.”

The idea of a relief road has been debated for decades, but has gathered dust since being designated by the county council as a 'priority' in its Local Transport Plan 2006-11.

Previous schemes have caused concern for residents in Burneside - likely to be in the path of any proposed plan.

Unofficial estimates put the cost of the 3.1 mile route at around £40 million.

South Lakeland District Council’s Leader Cllr Peter Thornton said: “This is a project that has been talked about since I was in short trousers and it’s time we progressed it, chose a route and started lobbying for the money to build it.

“Our current traffic problems, caused by Victoria Bridge, coupled with the recent ones caused by the painting of the Longpool Railway Bridge, make it very clear that Kendal’s future development is being constrained by the amount of traffic being unnecessarily routed through the centre of the town.”

A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “A northern relief road scheme for Kendal is not included in the current Local Transport Plan for Cumbria and is therefore not considered a priority scheme at present.

"The county council’s top priority at present is the flood recovery programme and securing the necessary funding from Government to repair flood damage on the highway network. We would be happy to talk to Kendal Town Council about their aspirations for a relief road.”