Shropshire Star

Opposition councillors call for halt to Shrewsbury relief road works

Opposition members on Shropshire Council will call for work to be suspended on Shrewsbury’s controversial relief road – until the new government confirms a commitment to paying for it.

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In February this year, planning conditions were agreed for the North West Relief Road (NWRR) scheme which will see around 7km of road constructed around Shrewsbury’s northern perimeter, despite fierce opposition from campaigners.

Shortly afterwards, around £17m of extra capital funding was agreed to begin enabling works on the development and complete the full business case which is set to be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) later this year.

Now, in a motion set to be put before full council later this month, Liberal Democrat leader Roger Evans will call for works to cease on the project until the incoming Labour government confirms the scheme will indeed be fully funded by the DfT.

In October last year, then transport secretary Mark Harper appeared to confirm in a media interview that the Government would fund the scheme to completion.

“This promise [was] only made by a former minister and this council has never had confirmation in writing that extra funding would be provided,” said Councillor Evans.

“In fact, government officers have, despite several requests, refused to confirm any increase in funding to build the North West Relief Road.

Councillor Roger Evans (Lib Dem, Longden) will propose a motion to suspend all work on the NWRR this month

“Since no firm promises have been made and with both the change in Government and the precarious state of this council’s finances, the Liberal Democrat group propose that this council suspends its agreement to spend any more money on the North West Relief Road project until confirmation to fund the building of the road is received from our new government.”

The Liberal Democrat motion set to go before council later this month will call for a “moratorium” on all work associated with the new road.

On Monday, in her first treasury speech, new chancellor Rachel Reeves said the new national government would prioritise decisions on infrastructure projects as part of her plans to “get Britain building again”.

“As well as unlocking new housing, we will also reform the planning system to deliver the infrastructure that our country needs,” she said.

“We will ask the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero to prioritise decisions on infrastructure projects that have been sitting unresolved for far too long.”

The motion will be discussed at a meeting of the full council on July 18.