FUNDING delays to fix the A595 throughout South Cumbria have been attacked by the leader of the county council.

Labour’s Stewart Young strongly criticised former Conservative transport secretary Chris Grayling who visited the Grizebeck bottleneck a year ago.

Mr Young said: “Chris Grayling came up to this county just before the (Copeland) by-election, coincidentally, and promised that this Government would put major investment into improving the A595 – we are still waiting.”

He said the funding had not been released and decried it as an ‘abject failure’. Cllr Young urged the Government to get its ‘finger out’ and hand down the money for improvements to the council.

The remarks prompted roars of support from fellow Labour members although the Conservative opposition claimed it was ‘electioneering’.

Cllr James Airey, leader of the Conservatives on the county council, said: “The commitment has been made and the commitment has not changed. The process has started, there has been consultation with the public and we have come up with a proposed route. It will be slower than some people wish but the approval has been given for it to happen.”

Cllr Keith Little, cabinet member for highways and transport, confirmed that the council is still waiting for funding from the Government to fix various pinch points on the A595.

However, he was ‘confident’ that the larger Grizebeck scheme at Dove Ford Farm is not in any doubt – despite the upcoming election.

Cllr Little said: “We are still working on the full business case for Grizebeck and still working with the community.”

Cllr Little, the Labour member for Maryport South, said all the major political parties had promised major transport infrastructure improvements and he did not envisage the scheme being sidelined.

However, a hung parliament may slow down Government business but he said the county council would have to overcome that.

In October last year at Conservative Party conference, Mr Grayling said the scheme would be one of the first to be developed for ‘future consideration for the government’s Major Road Network Fund’.

Although not a promise of the required cash, the council has to develop a business case for the money.