Fresh relief road consultation could be held if 'significant' changes are made

Fresh consultation could take place over parts of a controversial £87m road scheme, if a council makes "significant" changes to its plans.

An artist's impression of how the North West Relief Road's viaduct would look
An artist's impression of how the North West Relief Road's viaduct would look

Shropshire Council has confirmed that there may be some changes to its proposals for the North West Relief Road (NWRR) in Shrewsbury, as a result of responses to the consultation on the project.

The authority has said that if the changes are 'significant', it could hold more consultations before the proposal is considered by planners.

The plan for the road was seen as a major battleground in the recent Shropshire Council elections, which saw the Conservatives suffering poor results in Shrewsbury, which some have attributed to their support for the proposal.

Shropshire Council's cabinet member for highways, Councillor Steve Charmley, has reiterated his backing for the scheme, saying it will 'transform' the road network in Shrewsbury.

It comes amid strong criticisms of the environmental impact of the project from local campaigners, while around 3,000 objections to the plan are understood to have been submitted during the consultation process.

A statement from the council confirmed there may be some changes to the plan as it 'refines' parts of the scheme as a result of feedback on the proposal.

Issues

It said: "As is common with any major infrastructure project, Shropshire Council will be considering the comments it has received through the planning application process for the North West Relief Road.

"Some of the issues raised will have been known beforehand while other objections may raise new issues.

"With an application of this type it is entirely normal for the council as the applicant to further refine elements of the application to mitigate new issues raised during stages of the planning process."

Cllr Charmley added: "We appreciate that the NWRR is an emotive issue and that is why we will continue to seek to address as many of the concerns raised in the consultation as possible as the application progresses towards consideration.

“If there are any significant revised proposals to the scheme’s design as a result, the local planning authority can undertake a further consultation to consider these proposals.

“If approved, the NWRR would allow the council to transform the road network in Shrewsbury which currently must be able to cope with traffic, and in particular HGVs, when these are diverted off the A5 or A49, which as many local drivers will know is far from uncommon.

“This would give an alternative for this through traffic to be routed away from the centre of Shrewsbury and thus creating space in the town. By creating the extra space it will allow the area to be transformed for more sustainable uses that can reduce traffic in the town even further.

“This would include encouraging a range of much lower emission forms of transport such as more bus and cycle lanes as well as improving walking routes into and around the town.”

The planning application is expected to go before the council’s northern planning committee for determination before the end of the year.

If approved, work will start next year after a full business case has been approved by the Department for Transport, which has committed £54.4 million in funding towards the project.

A further £4.2m will come from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) while the council will make up the £19.8m shortfall plus any overspend.

The road, which has been decades in the planning, is set to open in 2023 and will complete the ring-road around Shrewsbury by linking the Welshpool Road roundabout in the West with the Ellesmere Road roundabout in the north.

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