Friends of the Earth urge rethink over Oxon Link Road proposals
The Oxon Link Road for Shrewsbury should be withdrawn, environmental campaigners said today.
They claim important green space would be eaten up by the development that the town can ill afford to lose.
Shrewsbury Friends of the Earth says the planning application for the link road should be pulled.
The group quotes from The Big Town Plan, now out for public comment, which puts forward ideas for the way Shrewsbury could develop in the future.
They say the plan would have immediate implications for the Western Sustainable Urban Extension, the Oxon Link Road that runs through it and the North West Relief Road, as well as development in general.
The £12million road would link the A5 ring road at Churncote island with the Holyhead Road at Oxon. The two lane-carriageway would be around one mile in length and is anticipated to be completed by 2021 if planning consent is granted.
Businesses and residents have raised a number of concerns over the road including a lack of information provided, noise and light pollution, and the impact on local businesses.
Frank Oldaker from the group said: "A number of things have happened almost simultaneously.
"The Big Town Plan has been published and the planning application for the Oxon Link has focussed minds on that area.
"The Big Town Plan is exciting and promotes modern ideas that are sorely needed.
"It envisages a town where many more journeys are made by cycle, walking or on various convenient forms of public transport which greatly reduces private car use.
"Apart from reducing motor traffic in the town centre this will affect the wider town area.
"Also the plan recognises the fact that Shrewsbury has a wonderful collection of green spaces and stresses the importance of preserving these - in particular mentioning the 'green wedge' of the Severn Valley to the north west coming almost to the town centre.
"This would be crossed by the North West Relief Road thus destroying its amenity value.
"The Oxon Link Road is, of course, seen as the first section of the North West Relief Road.
"The planning application has attracted more than 350 objections and only one supporting comment.
"It appears that Shropshire Council in trying to design a fast through road, as well as try and make it a road to benefit existing and future residents and businesses has failed miserably.
"It is also evident that recent attempts to cut costs like removing pedestrian bridges and crossings has made matters even worse. If ever there was a proposal that needed a thorough review this is it.
"We believe the opportunity should be taken to do this and also revisit the need for the North West Relief Road.
"It does seem that the obsession to build this road has led to development proposals for the Western Urban Extension that are quite awful and the rest of the road would result in enormous environmental damage as well.
"We could then be on the way to making Shrewsbury an even better place to live and work and to avoiding damaging what makes the town special."