Residents in Farthinghoe have been lobbying hard for a bypass for their village for many years now, and I have had emails and letters on the matter since I became your MP. I am acutely aware of the problems along the A422, particularly through Farthinghoe where the incidents of HGVs meeting head-on are well-known.
Farthinghoe is one of the only villages in the area not to have benefitted from a bypass, with the A422 going straight through its centre. Local people are rightly concerned about the constant HGV movements through their community and associated issues to do with traffic and air pollution, and there are regular accidents and collisions as the road undulates through the village.
It was therefore great news locally when Northamptonshire County Council formally added the Farthinghoe Bypass to their major projects list, and I know that both Cllr André Gonzales de Savage and Cllr Ian Morris at NCC are fully supportive of the need for the road to be built as soon as possible. However, the challenge of funding remains and it is doubtful that there is any capacity at a local level to forward-fund the road.
I wrote on behalf of affected constituents to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon. Chris Grayling MP, to seek his advice on what the Department for Transport might be able to do to help with the estimated £11.4m cost of the road.
Chris has highlighted the fact that the Government is aiming to create a new National Roads Fund from the revenue raised in England via Vehicle Excise Duty, and that a proportion of this will go to support the Major Roads Network. This will be dedicated to supporting improvements to A-roads like the A422 through Farthinghoe, and would be an ideal source for us to bid for funding.
A public consultation will be launched later this year which will include the details for the proposed bidding process, and Chris has explained that the County Council, working with the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, would have to make the case for money from the scheme once the National Roads Fund has launched. I have written to Cllr Ian Morris, the Transport Portfolio Holder at Northamptonshire County Council, as well as to the Chief Executive of SEMLEP, Stephen Catchpole, to ask that they give serious consideration to a joint bid for funding once the scheme launches.
I will continue to keep local residents updated, and we obviously still have some considerable work to do, but I will do all that I can to help secure funding through a Major Roads Network bid. Of course, I would strongly encourage any local residents who have their own thoughts about the importance of the Farthinghoe Bypass to also respond to the Major Roads Network consultation.
If there is anything I can do to help in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch.