North Northamptonshire 'has £307m infrastructure shortfall'

House building Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Local councils say the lack of funding for roads and schools is holding up developments

Almost £307m worth of building projects have been held up in Northamptonshire, a report has warned.

North Northamptonshire Investment Framework revealed the total cost of completing all planned developments in the north of the county.

Top of the list was the long-awaited Isham bypass, at a cost of £41.5m, which was given the go-head in 2006.

But it put on hold last year, with £16m a funding gap, which campaigners described as "a monster step back".

Jason Smithers, from the county council, said it was "committed to providing infrastructure to facilitate growth in the county".

'Developments will stall'

In 2018 the government allowed the county council to spend £70m of its capital funds - normally reserved for infrastructure projects - on services and its £64m deficit.

The authority's financial problems led to a scheme to dissolve it and seven other district and borough councils. A ban on any new spending was lifted three months ago and a government plan for two unitary authorities to replace the cash-strapped council will come into force in April 2021.

Image caption Residents in Isham have long campaigned for a bypass for their village

The report by North Northamptonshire Investment Framework warned developments "will stall if infrastructure funding is not secured".

Among them are £35m of road improvements between Isham and Wellingborough, £30m of developments to the Corby Northern Orbital Road, and a number of schools.

It is hoped that some of the funding for roads and schools could be secured from central government, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Stephen North, leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said the lack of infrastructure funding was "something we have always been concerned about".

Mr Smithers said the county council was working with the government to seek more funding and had submitted a bid to help pay for the Isham bypass.

Image caption Northamptonshire County Council is now balancing its books, finance commissioner Brian Roberts said in March

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