07 July 2015

Plans for the A45 Development Link road – which is essential for future economic growth in the Daventry area – are set for final approval by Northamptonshire County Council’s Cabinet next week.

The £32million single carriageway which would also effectively provide a by-pass for the villages of Flore, Upper Heyford and Weedon has been made possible through an innovative county council-led funding scheme.

How has the road been funded?

Known as the Northamptonshire Revolving Infrastructure Fund (NRIF), the mechanism unites funding streams and sees local authorities, developers and contractors working together to put the money in place.

This approach has been possible because of the county council funding the design, planning and implementation costs upfront.

Cabinet is asked to agree the funding package and appoint Balfour Beatty as the contractor for its construction.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection said: “Without this approach to funding, and the county council’s leadership, it would not be possible to deliver this link road or the growth proposals, and resultant homes, private sector investment and new jobs outlined for the Daventry area.

“I am not aware of a similar approach on this scale anywhere else in the country and, put simply, this road is absolutely vital for the Daventry area.

“Residents in the villages of Flore, Weedon and Upper Heyford have waited for years for this road to be built and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to come up with a pioneering way of funding which has made it possible.

“The council continues to operate in very challenging economic conditions with less funding coupled with more demand on its services. This means that we need to be original and enterprising.

“The revolving infrastructure fund and the delivery of this road are a prime example of this. This will help to create the conditions for accelerated growth and stimulate new development, local business growth and private sector investment.”

Planning permission for the scheme was granted by the county council’s development control committee on June 16. It is hoped work will start in late autumn this year.

Northamptonshire Revolving Infrastructure Fund explained:

  • In this age of austerity there is little or no money available for funding infrastructure schemes such as building major roads.
  • However with highways networks at over-capacity, new roads are needed for businesses to invest and expand and to allow new housing developments to be built. Without new roads there would be gridlock.
  • The building of new housing development ‘unlocks’ money for local authorities (Section 106 agreements, new homes bonus, community infrastructure levy) and these can be used to create infrastructure to complement new development.
  • But with this there is a Catch-22 situation as you can’t have new homes without new roads and vice-versa.
  • What the Northamptonshire Revolving Infrastructure Fund does is allow someone (in this case the county council) to act as ‘banker’ to break this vicious circle.
  • The county council takes what money it has (in this case £14million of Government Growth Deal money) and creates a plan to build the required infrastructure.
  • The county council borrows the remainder of the money so the road can be built – and therefore then allow the housing development to be built.
  • The housing development then releases money to repay the county council (and Daventry District Council with which the county council has a legal agreement to recoup the funds).