Work could start on the £150m road scheme as soon as 2014, subject to completing all the relevant statutory processes, instead of post-2015 as first planned.
The Department for Transport said that it was minded to accept the planning inspector’s recent recommendation that the bypass should be built following an inquiry.
This means the Government is now committed to building the road as quickly as possible providing the developers’ contribution is secured. Work could now begin on the detailed route, land purchase and raising funds to complete the project.
The road to bypass Dunstable has already attracted funds of £5m from Central Bedfordshire Council and a pledge of £45m from local developers.
Central Bedfordshire Council welcomed the news that the Department of Transport is ready to give the go-ahead for the A5-M1 link road as the start of a great new future for Dunstable.
The 2.9 mile dual carriageway will run east from the A5 north of Dunstable to the M1 at a new junction (J11a) improving journey time reliability and safety for those travelling on the A5 in the southern part of Central Bedfordshire.
The A5-M1 link road scheme was originally due to go to public inquiry in June 2010. It was postponed in the Government’s spending review, after being identified as a “future scheme” for start of work post 2015.
After approaches from Central Bedfordshire Council and cash pledges from developers Lands Improvement Holdings and Friends Life Company, the Secretary of State agreed the public inquiry would be re-started.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Economic Development for Central Bedfordshire Council, says, “I am delighted – today we mark the start of Dunstable’s future. This is excellent news for Central Bedfordshire and for the local residents who have been campaigning for a bypass for many years.
“The A5 M1 Link is the most important infrastructure need for Central Bedfordshire and is pivotal to our plans to regenerate this area.
South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous said: “This is wonderful news for the whole of South West Bedfordshire.
“I pay tribute to Central Bedfordshire Council for negotiating the developer contribution, without which the road would not be built. I believe that South West Bedfordshire will now realise its full potential in creating jobs and wealth.”