Plans for a one-way road system in Wem hit funding logjam

Leaders in Shropshire have rejected a call to spend £35,000 on looking into traffic problems in Wem.

Wem town centre. Photo: Google.
Wem town centre. Photo: Google.

The town's council wants to see a one-way system installed to deal with "serious traffic issues".

It has a traffic working group that has now reached a logjam in negotiations with Shropshire Council, a meeting heard.

Wem county councillor Peter Broomhill said: "Whilst initially it was hoped that an experimental traffic order would be the way to trial a one-way system, following statutory consultees' responses it became evident that more research should be carried out into the potential impact that any one-way system may have.

"This will help ensure new problems are not created in the town as a result."

The trouble is that a traffic impact assessment is a costly thing, and the cabinet meeting on Wednesday heard that Shropshire Council wants Wem Town Council to pay £35,000.

But Wem Town Council does not have that kind of money.

Councillor Broomhill said the town wants to look at the creation of a clockwise or anti-clockwise one-way system around the town, the reversal of the existing one-way priorities on two streets to enable access to the main car park and the management of traffic around Maunds Corner.

He said: "The latest correspondence from Shropshire Council was that they wanted Wem Town Council to pay 35K for the traffic impact assessment (TIA), not money that WTC has!"

So Councillor Broomhill on Wednesday formally requested that Shropshire Council takes responsibility as the highways authority to do the work.

"Whilst there will be a cost to this, WTC is of the view that TIA’s are the responsibility of SC as our Highways Authority," he said.

He said it would be a beneficial use of the council's budget.

"It helps revive the economy of the town and ensures that when a one-way system is in place all possible options and impacts have been considered and accounted for," said Councillor Broomhill.

But Councillor Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council's relevant portfolio holder, said he was in principle in favour but was "unable to support the request to spend money on the traffic impact assessment."

Councillor Marshall added: "To date, several highways projects have been completed in Wem and with the assistance and hard work of the local members, the council have helped to provide a full suite of projects that can be utilised as an ‘off the shelf’ package in assisting applications for future funding bids for Wem.

"The proposed scheme for a one-way system is currently not in the capital budget for the next year, so to spend funds on a traffic impact assessment would not at this moment be the best use of council monies, as when and if, the scheme was included in the forward capital budget, the TIA could potentially be out of date.

"As the portfolio holder, I am in principle in favour of the scheme but at this moment in time I am unable to support the request to spend money on the TIA."

Councillor Broomhill pressed his colleague for a commitment to including the money in "the near future".

Councillor Marshall said he was "happy to commit to opening discussions later in this financial year" but did not commit to the funds definitely being put to one side.

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