It is excellent news that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has decided not to call in the application for Ely’s Southern bypass but will instead respect the decision of Cambridgeshire County Council.
This follows representations to Mr Pickles by my neighbouring MP Sir Jim Paice and myself (see previous blog here) to respect localism given the strong support for the bypass from the local community. Sir Jim and I also met with English Heritage earlier in the year to discuss their concerns about the proposals (see previous blog here).
The bypass is crucial to the area’s transport infrastructure and economic growth, and is needed to alleviate the delays suffered by constituents living in and around Ely, including those in Littleport, Sutton, Mepal, Witcham and Little Downham.
The scheme has huge support locally from the majority of residents, Ely town council, the county council, and both local MPs, and there is a very strong economic case for the bypass to go-ahead. I am pleased the Secretary of State has taken this into account.
If the application was called-in then there was the potential for a lengthy delay, with work not being able to start until late 2016 at the earliest. This decision means that timetable can be brought forward and I will be speaking to Cambridgeshire County Council to ensure work starts as soon as possible.