FUNDING to make a new Darlington bypass a reality is facing a wait until the end of this decade.

A case for the northern link road between the A66 and the A1 has been created to ease traffic woes in the north of the town.

But a transport official has revealed they haven’t been able to get “buy in” from the government yet – with “no logical funding route” for the scheme at the moment. 

Read more: Black History Month: Arthur Wharton appears on special tube map

Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) reports show traffic on the A167 and the A1150 have more wagons and lorries than the A66 south of Darlington – with an average of 1,500 HGVs clocked every day. 

A business case has been created for a single lane link road between the Little Burdon roundabout and Junction 59 of the A1(M) to offer residents some respite, and a better link to and from Teesside.

However, transport officer Tom Bryant told councillors finding funding for the northern link road had been “challenging” at a meeting on Wednesday. 

The Northern Echo:

He said the road would need to be funded by the government – although he added a package for the scheme may not need to come from the Department for Transport alone.

Mr Bryant said: “The challenge we’ve got at the minute is, because we’re pursuing lots of other schemes, funding is tight.

“We can’t at this stage get any kind of buy in from (the) government around a logical funding route.

“This means it’s challenging to take it forward to the next step. 

“We continue to try and explore options and alternatives on how we might pull that together. 

“But as it stands, there is not a logical funding route.”

Leaders are waiting to find out if money will be given for the £460m Tees Crossing over the A19.

Combined authority chiefs have sent more information to Whitehall recently arguing the project is needed to help ambitions at Teesworks and the new Freeport. 

Cllr Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, said the bypass situation was a “frustration” at Wednesday’s transport committee. 

Later, she added: “We would have liked it much earlier but we will do what we can – and try to put on as much pressure as we can.

“But we realise that the Tees Crossing is important.”

Council “didn’t want to pay towards it”

Estimates of £200m for the northern link road have been touted in the past.

On Thursday, Labour group leader Cllr Stephen Harker told a scrutiny panel he felt the government had kicked the project into the long grass.

After both meetings, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said a funding proposal was put to Darlington Council which included money from the TVCA, the government, and Homes England.

He added: “The proposal also requires Darlington Council to put some money up to build the bypass – but we were informed they didn’t want to pay towards it. 

“The council was told the alternative was that funding was unlikely to be secured from the Government until the late 2020s at the earliest, as we were making progress on the £460m Tees Crossing. 

“They still didn’t want to progress it.”

In response, a Darlington Council spokesman said the link road remained a priority and they would continue to work together to get funding from the government.

He added: “Many funding options have been and will continue to be explored –  with one that required the council to borrow a very significant proportion of the money to help deliver the scheme.

“But it wasn’t considered financially prudent for the council to carry such a high level of risk.”


In the meantime, frustrated North Road residents are living with the constant rumble of wagons and traffic – and wanted to see action.

Belinda Graham, 59, has long problems and believed her health had got worse due to the increase in traffic.

“We can’t afford to move,” she added.

“At 5pm it’s bumper-to-bumper.

“We never used to get traffic along the road at night but now we get lorries – and they’re bigger than they used to be.”

Retired couple Peter and Sylvia Howe also bore the brunt of noise.

Mrs Howe said: “It’s dreadful – it’s definitely getting a lot worse.

“It’s unbelievable – it’s from first thing on a morning and it never stops.

“We’ve only been here six years and he’s not been right since we moved here – I blame the traffic and the fumes.”

Mr Bryant told councillors the bypass was “still a priority” but it needed to be balanced with the wider picture. 

On Thursday, the transport official said: “It is frustrating this scheme is not moving as forward as quickly as some of the others.

“The unfortunate reality is we cannot do everything at the same time.

“If we pursue this now at a time when we have got the Tees Crossing, Darlington station, and a Levelling Up fund bid, we are ultimately looking at leveraging about £600m from the Government.

“We just cannot get any traction from the Government at this point.

“(I’m) not saying we won’t in the future.

“We have got to be thinking about our tactics and timing, and trying to pick our moment when, hopefully, we have got some other things over the line.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054