A NEW £200million bypass set to be used by mid Cheshire commuters has been granted permission by the Secretary of State for Transport, with officers expecting the road to be open by Spring 2017.

The Knutsford to Bowdon (A556) highway improvement scheme was officially given the greenlight, on Thursday, August 28.

The route is used by many mid Cheshire residents as they make their way into Manchester and Highways Agency staff told the Guardian that work on the road would start by March 2015 and take two years to complete.

The development consent is for the construction of a new section of highway and to make improvements to the existing A556 trunk road in Cheshire between M6 Junction 19, near Knutsford, and M56 Junction 7 near Bowdon.

It also includes improvements to the M6 Southbound carriageway between M6 Junction 19 and Knutsford Services.

The decision follows an examination process by the Planning Inspectorate, which was completed within the statutory timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011).

The application was submitted by the Highways Agency for consideration on April 24, 2013 and was accepted for examination on May 17, 2013.

Following the examination, where interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State for Transport on June 2, 2014.

Simon Ridley, the Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive, said: “The examination of the application was completed within the timescales prescribed in the Planning Act and a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Transport. Today’s decision supports that recommendation.

“The Planning Inspectorate has the responsibility to examine Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) within timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008. This provides developers and investors with the confidence to build and improve the infrastructure this country needs to secure future economic growth. Since being given that responsibility the Planning Inspectorate has examined over 20 major projects within those timescales.”

“A major priority for us over the course of the examination was to ensure that communities who might be affected by this proposal had the opportunity to put forward their views. As always, the Examining Authority gave careful consideration to these before reaching its conclusion.”