Shrewsbury North West Relief Road: Fresh planning date for much-delayed scheme
Controversial plans for Shrewsbury's £80 million North West Relief Road could finally be considered by a planning committee next year – if they are not delayed again.
Shropshire Council's proposal to build the North West Relief Road (NWRR) has been the subject of a succession of delays.
The application was originally expected to go before the council's planning committee at the end of 2021 – but successive delays mean the proposal has still not been considered by councillors.
One of the main reasons for the delay has been the Environment Agency asking for more detail on the proposals, particularly how they affect the site of water extraction in the town, before it decides whether it can support the plan.
Now Councillor Richard Marshall, the council's portfolio holder for highways and regulatory services, has said that he expects the proposal to be considered in the spring.
He said the council had almost concluded the work required by the Environment Agency and would hand it over in January.
Councillor Marshall has made the comments in response to a written question from fellow council members.
In his response he states: "I am delighted to say that for Shrewsbury NWRR we have almost concluded the extensive amount of ground investigation and environmental assessment work required to satisfy the requirements of the Environment Agency and Natural England.
"The aim is to complete the submission of that information in January which then enable the matter to be considered by Planning Committee in the spring."
It also appears there may be no decision over financing for the £80 million scheme, which it is understood requires around £40m of extra funding to go ahead, until after the application has been considered.
Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski had asked the Department for Transport (DfT) if it would be able to provide £27m towards the increased costs – and was expecting a response in two weeks.
The DfT has declined to comment to the Shropshire Star as to whether any decision has been made on extra funding, but it is understood the Government will now only consider providing extra money after the council submits the full business case for the project – a move which would follow any planning application being approved.
Asked whether he had received a response, Mr Kawczynski said discussions were 'ongoing' over the request.
A statement from his office said: "Daniel Kawczynski MP has held a number of meetings with ministerial colleagues to discuss the funding of the North West Relief Road.
"He has also held a meeting with the Environment Agency to discuss the project.
"He considers that the North West Relief Road will reduce congestion and pollution in the centre of Shrewsbury and on the ring road and will unlock the economic potential of north west Shrewsbury.
"Discussions are ongoing with government over this project."
The plans have attracted vocal opposition over environmental concerns, with around 4,500 people objecting as part of the planning process.
The proposal has also failed to gain the support of a number of town councils, including Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow and Bridgnorth, all of which are opposed to the plan.