PICTURE: Roads Minister Richard Holden and Councillor Deborah Taylor, deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council, on site in Melton
Residents and tourists in Melton Mowbray and Leicestershire will benefit from more than £49 million in government investment to reduce congestion, improve air quality and provide faster local journeys, the Roads Minister Richard Holden has announced.
The new road scheme – part of a £115.2 million total investment between the government, county council and private investors – will help unlock the full potential of Britain’s ‘rural capital of food’, stamping out ‘rat running’ car and lorry traffic from Melton Mowbray and making it easier for residents and tourists to access its historic town centre.
With the town famous for its Melton Mowbray pork pie heritage – a protected status – the project will generate an estimated £144 million in economic opportunities by boosting local tourism and supporting over 3,400 new jobs. This will help level up local communities and deliver on one of the government’s five priorities to grow the economy.
The scheme consists of a single carriageway road and extends from the A606 Nottingham Road at the north-western edge of the town to the A606 Burton Road in the south, crossing Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road, A607 Thorpe Road and B676 Saxby Road to Burton Road.
Shorter journey times and reliability are absolutely crucial in securing new business investment, and this new road is vital to support the future growth of the Melton economy. I’m very pleased that, by approving our full business case, the government recognises the importance of this road with the award of this hugely significant funding. We’ve been delighted to welcome the Minister to Leicestershire today and we can now look forward to the major construction work starting in the next few weeks.. Person:Councillor Deborah Taylor, deputy leader, Leicestershire County Council
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: "For too many years, Melton has been plagued by disruptive and polluting traffic congestion which has made it difficult to reach its historic town centre, grow our economy, and savour its delicious pork pies and Stilton cheese.
"That’s why we’re investing nearly £50 million to boost local connectivity and tackle congestion, supporting more than 3,400 jobs to help Britain’s ‘Rural Capital of Food’ truly reach its full potential."
Melton Mowbray’s historic town centre network is at the convergence of six major routes and sees some of the highest congestion levels on a per mile basis in Leicestershire, mainly because of a high number of heavy lorries passing through the town centre.
The new road will take traffic away from the town centre, allowing residents and tourists to visit Melton’s celebrated Market Place more easily while boosting local air quality and connectivity.
The project will pave the way for better active travel opportunities by providing a 3m wide combined cycle and footway along almost all of the scheme’s length. It will also improve bus punctuality by taking lorries and heavy traffic away from the town centre.
As local authorities predict growing demand for travel into Melton Mowbray, local traffic congestion is expected to increase which could seriously affect the attractiveness of the town to tourists and hamper economic growth.
This scheme is just one part of a wider transport strategy for the town which will include other measures to address localised traffic issues, public transport improvements, as well as walking and cycling connectivity.
The new single carriageway road will be funded by £49.5 million in government investment, alongside £51.7 million by Leicestershire County Council and £14 million by private funding.
With the opening scheduled for Summer 2025, the project will create new junctions with the radials on its route and provide crossings over the railway line and the River Eye.
This measure aligns well with national policy objectives to tackle congestion, encourage economic and housing growth as well as delivering better bus services and improved infrastructure to boost cycling and walking.
Paul Bennell, Managing Director, Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, said: "This announcement is good news for Melton, helping to reduce traffic congestion and delays.
"Much work has also been undertaken to position Melton Mowbray as a successful ‘Rural Capital of Food’, including by our team at the Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe. This development will help the town further build on its successful efforts in this area and create more economic benefits."
The county council says it is working hard to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses.