FUNDING to develop the evidence base for a relief road to the north of Kendal is being sought by Cumbria County Council.

A ‘Northern Access Route’ would connect the A591 and A6 and help to divert traffic around the town, easing congestion. An application to the Department for Transport (DfT) to get ‘feasibility funding’ for the project has been prepared by the council.

This follows Transport for the North (TfN) submitting its ‘Regional Evidence Base’ to the DfT, identifying a number of northern priorities - including ‘key’ highways schemes.

Another application by Cumbria County Council - for ‘delivery funding’ for a series of improvements to the A595 near Bothel - has also been prepared.

Cllr Peter Thornton, deputy leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “I am delighted that we have taken another step forward towards trying to secure the funding for the Kendal Northern Access Route, and I sincerely hope that as a result of the council putting its full support behind it that the money required for the next stage of studies can now be secured.

“This route is essential to the people of Kendal and the local economy and the recent closure of Victoria Bridge has only emphasised the need for the new bypass for the town.”

Indeed, there was traffic chaos in and around Kendal the weekend before last after an incident on the M6 caused it to be closed between Junctions 36 and 39.

Parish councillor and Burneside resident Derrick Wade said it was taking about 50 minutes to get from the top of Hollings Lane into the village - a distance of less than a mile.

“It’s a complete nightmare. We have got to have a relief road,” he said.

Mr Wade added the route should begin at Ratherheath, before leading traffic between Holme Houses and Whitefoot, round the back of the James Cropper paper mill and out to Shap Road; with roads into both the mill and Shap Road Industrial Estate.

Cumbria county councillor Keith Little, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We welcome the fact that TfN has prioritised two schemes in Cumbria.

But all the projects put forward by TfN will face tough competition from across the country.

“If these schemes are successful, this will allow further development to progress, and as part of this, there will be further public consultation activity.”