A NORTH-East authority is considering whether to forward-fund a controversial £35m relief road.

Durham County Council wants to see the road built to the west of Durham city, connecting Sniperley with Broom Lane and providing an alternative route to the A167.

The authority’s cabinet will be deciding whether to back proposals to forward-fund the road at a meeting next week, on the same day the route will be debated at the public examination of the County Durham Plan, which is underway in Murton.

The council says its has a "high degree" of confidence that funding will be secured for the road.

According to the authority, at least £15m has been promised by the owners of the development site at Sniperley Park, which has been earmarked for 1,700 houses.

That funding would be given in staged payments over the lifetime of the build, through section 106 agreements.

Durham County Council's cabinet is being asked to provide forward fund the construction of the road in advance of money being received.

The report to be debated by councillors next week, says: "There is a high degree of confidence that funding will be secured for the road and the council can further support this through forward funding the construction costs in advance of receipts being received."

It adds: "If the full cost of the relief road cannot be secured through s106 agreements, the council will explore grant funding opportunities to cover any shortfall."

The controversial road, which has been under discussion for decades, has sparked a number of opposition campaigns.

Amanda Taylor-Saunders, from Bearpark, who is secretary of the Western Relief Road Action Group, set up to oppose the scheme, said funding details of the road should have been put forward before it was discussed at the County Durham Plan examination.

She said: "Nothing is concrete about how this road is going to be funded. I would have assumed Durham County Council would have been more strategic in terms of how they are going to fund what they are proposing."

She is among those registered to speak in opposition to the road at the examination of the County Durham Plan, which will resume next week following a two-week break.

Transport proposals for Durham city, including both the western and relief road, will be discussed on Wednesday.

Cabinet members, who also meet on Wednesday, will be told a £40m bid has already been submitted for the Northern Relief Road, which included a commitment of £6m from the council.

It expects to hear from the North East Joint Transport committee about whether it has been successful in early 2020.