Shrewsbury council leader hits back at MP over relief road 'disservice' claim

A council leader has defended calls for a major road scheme to be scrapped, after the move was criticised by an MP.

Major concerns – Councillor Alan Mosley
Major concerns – Councillor Alan Mosley

Councillor Alan Mosley, Labour leader of Shrewsbury Town Council (STC), was speaking after the town's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, raised concerns over delays to the progress on plans for the controversial North West Relief Road (NWRR) in Shrewsbury.

Mr Kawczynski said that STC's decision to oppose the plans – and to write to the Government calling for them to be scrapped – had done the town a 'disservice'.

In response Councillor Mosley has questioned the public support for the road, highlighting the number of objections to the plan – 4,000, and its impact on last year's local elections, where a number of key Conservatives lost their seats.

Councillor Mosley said there were also major concerns about the potential costs of the road – with major construction projects seeing significant increases in costs over recent months.

He said: "Apart from it being an environmental and climate change catastrophe it has enormous technical difficulties.

"Also, we shall no doubt soon hear that as with all other construction projects, it will be hit by greatly increased costs all of which must be funded by council tax payers throughout Shropshire.

"Indeed, Shropshire Council has recently pulled out of its plans to improve the swimming baths provision in the town as cost have increased by up to 50 per cent and has massively reduced its capital programme."

Daniel Kawczynski MP

He added: "Mr Kawczynski goes on to criticise Shrewsbury Town Council as we recently demanded that the Government abandon the scheme and he claims that this is a great disservice to the people of Shrewsbury.

"On the contrary, he seems to ignore the fact that during the local elections of May 2021 the NWRR was a major subject for debate throughout the town with the Tories being the only party not to strongly condemn the plans.

"The results of the poll almost wiped out his Tories on the council who now have only 12 per cent of the membership.

"Hence, the council’s motion to oppose the scheme was carried with only one vote against. It is our MP who is grossly out of touch."

Councillor Mosley also said he would be happy to present the case to business representatives – as requested by Mr Kawczynski.

An artist's impression of how Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road may look

He said: "I and my colleagues would be delighted to take up his challenge to explain the town council’s opposition the NWRR to the Shrewsbury Business Chamber, Chamber of Commerce and any other such groups.

"I hope that he will be good enough to make arrangements for such a meeting and also attend himself so that he can learn more too."

Rosemary Dartnall, Labour member for Column on the town council, added: "Our MP claims the town council’s opposition to the road is against the interests of Shrewsbury residents and local commerce, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

"There is no doubt that Shrewsbury, and all of Shropshire, has problems with motor traffic. Reducing the number of car journeys by prioritising public transport and active travel will deliver long term improvement in the daily lives, public health and overall environment of residents, businesses and visitors alike.

"Shrewsbury Town Council opposes the out-dated, financially reckless NWRR because it does not address the 21st century problems we face.

"Shrewsbury needs a cleaner, healthier, vibrant future for all and I look forward to discussing this with Shrewsbury business groups.”

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