Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury North West Relief Road timeline: Council wants new road open for Winter 2026

People could be driving on Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road by winter 2026 if Shropshire Council gets its way.

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Campaigners ahead of the meeting where councillors approved plans for the road.

The authority has published an updated timeline for the future of the controversial project – which was approved by its Northern Planning Committee on Tuesday.

In the wake of the meeting the council's cabinet member in charge of highways, Councillor Dan Morris, said they would shortly start the process of tendering for a firm to build the road.

The latest details from the council show that it wants to start the main work by summer 2025, to have the road open in the winter of 2026, and for it to be "fully complete" in the summer of 2027.

Its next steps are to complete a 'full business case' for the government, which has to be signed off before it hands over the money to pay for the road.

The issue of funding appears to have been resolved after the government said it would pay for 100 per cent of the road using money from the scrapped northern leg of HS2.

But, speaking earlier this week Councillor Morris said the authority was still waiting for "formal confirmation" over the funding issue.

It comes as campaigners battling against the road have suggested the fight may not be over.

Mike Streetly from Better Shrewsbury Transport (BeST) said the group and others are considering their options – including a legal challenge.

He criticised the decision to award planning permission, saying the committee had disregarded important issues raised over the proposal.

He said: "This was clearly not a level playing field: there were many strong points put against the road in the meeting and these were brushed aside by council officers, consultants and Conservative councillors without being properly addressed.

"The only way in which these things will be properly weighed up is in a court or a Public Inquiry and we will be exploring both of those options in the coming days."

Mr Streetly also pointed to the fact that the council still has to resolve the concerns of the Environment Agency (EA) before it can actually start work.

The issue was a central consideration for the committee during the meeting.

The EA has asked for evidence that work to build a bridge planned as part of the road, and drainage from a roundabout at Shelton, will not result in contamination of Shrewsbury's water supplies – extracted from a borehole in the same area.

It was suggested during the meeting that Shropshire Council had not been prepared to complete the work to the level required by the EA before the application was approved due to its cost.

Part of the approval by the committee was that conditions to satisfy the Environment Agency concerns must now be agreed and brought back to the members for the green light.

Mr Streetly said: "We need to be absolutely clear what happened on Tuesday was not approval of the scheme, as has subsequently been claimed by Shropshire Council, but rather a decision to move into a process of trying to agree planning conditions and legal agreements with landowners.

"The actual decision will be taken by the committee once those are ready and that will take weeks or potentially months."