Kendal Northern Access Route

In July 2021, the council secured government funding for the development of proposals for the Kendal Northern Access Route scheme. 

The Kendal Northern Access Route would be a new road connecting the A591 and the A6 to the north of Kendal. The road is needed to reduce the impact of through-traffic within Kendal and provide opportunity to improve walking and cycling and public transport in the town centre. It would also improve air quality in Kendal and support the resilience of the road network to flood events and motorway closures along with new growth opportunities for the town. 

The funding will allow the scheme to be developed in more detail. This work will develop options and consider the impacts of these options. The development will include a public consultation to gather feedback on the scheme and potential options. The feedback from the consultation will be used to shape the scheme.

The development will produce a business case for the scheme. The business case will be used to secure delivery funding.  

The potential for a Kendal Northern Access Route was identified in the Kendal Strategic Transport Infrastructure study in 2016. This study reviewed the existing situation in Kendal, considered objectives for improving existing and potential future transport issues, and identified potential transport interventions for solving these issues. 

The study noted that congestion and air quality were key issues in the town, particularly around constrained junctions in the town centre. Traffic accessing the employment sites to the north of the town from the south, and through-traffic, had no choice but to travel through the town centre.

The context review also noted significant resilience issues on the network. The A591/A6 and Kendal town centre form part of the Emergency Diversion Route for the M6 between Junctions 36-39; when the diversion route is used there is traffic gridlock in the town. The flooding of 2015 also forced the closure of the only eastbound bridge, Victoria Bridge, significantly impacting on connectivity in the town.

The study defined a set of objectives for potential transport interventions based around improving the resilience of the network and reducing congestion in the town centre. An optioneering process identified the KNAR as the preferred option for meeting the objectives.

Further study work was carried out as part of the Kendal Highways and Transport Improvements Study, which began in 2018. A strategic outline business case was produced and was submitted to the Department for Transport's Large Local Majors fund. 

The business case was submitted to secure funding to develop the scheme in more detail. The Department for Transport approved the strategic outline business case, and funding for the next stage of scheme development, in July 2021.

Previous Study Work

Kendal Strategic Transport Infrastructure Study (2016-2017)

The Kendal Strategic Transport Infrastructure Study was undertaken by Cumbria County Council in partnership with South Lakeland District Council and Kendal Town Council. The study aimed to understand what improvements may be needed to: 

  • Support delivery of the future growth of Kendal
  • Reduce congestion and increase highway resilience in the town centre
  • Improve accessibility to existing employment areas
  • Ensure that, when the M6 is closed, diverted traffic is not reliant on single-lane bridges in Kendal

The study work assessed the key principles of potential scheme options and did not considered detailed designs or alignments.

Key documents from the study:

Kendal Strategic Transport Infrastructure Study - Summary Note (PDF 6579KB)

Kendal Northern Access Route Strategic Outline Business Case Summary (PDF 2.84MB) 

Kendal Strategic Transport Infrastructure Study - Strategic Outline Business Case (PDF 8MB) 


Kendal Highways and Transport Improvements Study (2018-2019)

Further technical work was undertaken on a Kendal Northern Access Route, as well as several town centre improvements, in the Kendal Highways and Transport Improvements Study. The study formed a 'whole place' approach for transport investment in Kendal, linked to the South Lakeland Local Plan. 

Key documents from the study:

Kendal Highways and Transport Improvements Study report (PDF 16.3 MB)

The council is currently working towards appointing consultants to start the scheme development work in September 2021.

Although the project timescales are still being developed, the following key dates are expected:

Winter 2021/22 - Development of scheme options 

Summer 2022 - Public consultation on scheme options 

Autumn 2022 - Business case submitted to Department for Transport


Future Public Consultation for the Kendal Northern Access Route and scheme options is planned for Summer 2022. 

October 2021

Kendal Northern Access Route

Kendal benefits from an attractive and historic setting, excellent and well-used green corridors and a diverse economy. These provide assets for the town and a platform for the growth of the town.

Notwithstanding this, Kendal's transport network faces a number of challenges. Through-traffic creates congestion on historic streets while the criss-crossing bridges in the town create inherent resilience challenges. These factors negatively impact on the town centre environment and air quality for pedestrians and cyclists. They also constrain transport movements for businesses needing to access the strategic road network, with many heavy goods vehicles needing to cross the town centre. 

Cumbria County Council has looked at a wide range of options that could address these issues. Through this process it was concluded that the Kendal Northern Access Route would bring significant benefit and new opportunities for the town. This new two-mile single carriageway road would connect the A591 and the A6 to the north of Kendal.

The delivery of this road will reduce the impact of through-traffic within Kendal with work to date showing traffic flows on Sandes Avenue could reduce by up to 7,000 vehicles per day. This would provide opportunity to reimagine the town's transport network to significantly enhance walking, cycling and public transport. This would also improve air quality in the heart of Kendal, support the resilience of the road network to flood events and motorway closures, while also supporting new growth opportunities for the town. 

Scheme update

In July 2021, the County Council secured Government approval and funding for the further development of proposals for the Kendal Northern Access Route scheme. The next stage is the development of an Outline Business Case.

This will consider options for the scheme before identifying a preferred option. Supporting this process, in 2022 a public consultation will be undertaken to gather feedback on the scheme and the potential options. 

The feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the business case for the scheme for submission to Government. The Government will then decide whether they would wish to support the delivery of the scheme. 

In readiness for this, the Council is currently working towards appointing engineering consultants to start the scheme development work this month.

For queries relating to the project, please contact knar@cumbria.gov.uk and one of our project team will respond.