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North West Relief Road is 'stuck in the past'

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Plans for the multi-million pound North West Relief Road are "stuck in the past", according to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

The Shrewsbury road, which will connect the Oxon Link Road to Battlefield, is set to become a reality after the government announced a £54 million funding boost.

However, Shropshire Wildlife Trust believes the council should be following other forward-thinking towns and looking into more sustainable forms of transport.

Robin Mager, conservation and planning officer, said: "Shropshire Council has been trying to get this road for the last 50 years but times have changed.

"There is other towns and cities out there who are coming up with really elegant and modern solutions to their problems. Yet the council is still going on about building this road.

"Other places are getting more buses, trams and cycling routes. It's disappointing that Shropshire Council seems to be behind everyone else."

A shared footpath and cycleway will be built on the southern part of the road, bordered on both sides by open space.

And there is plans to create new wildlife habitats along the route.

Neglected

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But Mr Mager said it is often the way that these aspects of developments get neglected.

"The £54m is not the full amount needed and there is still a shortfall of about £20m," he added.

"One of our fears is that the measures they have suggested to make the scheme acceptable, like cycle paths, ponds and bird and bat boxes, will disappear.

"Our experience of the whole planning system is that these things are promised but about half of the time are not delivered."

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Clive Wright, chief executive of Shropshire Council, said there will be opportunity to work with the wildlife trust moving forward.

"Obviously building a road does not come without impacts," he said. "But there is an opportunity to work with the wildlife trust on mitigation.

"There is a chance here to create new habitats so it is not all lost and there is gains as well.

"We want to limit the damage and enhance where we can."

The total cost of the road, which is subject to planning consent, is expected to be £71 million and Shropshire Council will need to bring forward the remaining money.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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