Councillors hesitantly support £2.7 million transport scheme for Shifnal

Shropshire councillors have hesitantly welcomed a £2.7 million transport scheme set to improve road safety in Shifnal.

Shifnal town centre
Shifnal town centre

The Shifnal Integrated Transport Scheme was supported by town councillors at a full council meeting in October and will go before Shropshire Council in December.

Costing £2.7 million and funded through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from nearby housing developments, the project is being delivered by Shropshire Council and aims to ease congestion and slow vehicles down as they approach the junction joining Aston Street, Victoria Road, Bradford Street and Market Place.

Set to commence in spring 2021 after more than seven years of planning, the initiative has been met with mixed reactions, with campaign group Shifnal Matters claiming the funds could be better spent on alternative facilities.

Councillor Ed Bird, who represents Shifnal South on Shropshire Council, said that despite the various objections to the scheme, he was pleased the town would finally see "significant investment".

Meanwhile, Shifnal North representative Councillor Kevin Turley said he felt Shropshire Council should be contributing funds to enhance the project – which is "nowhere near" to original plans put to residents in 2015.

Councillor Edward Bird

Councillor Bird said: "I understand some people object to aspects of the scheme, but overall it's a significant investment in Shifnal – traffic will be improved with this CIL money investment.

"Over the years costs have accrued and the decision needed to be made by the town council one way or another, so I'm pleased the town council voted in favour of this as it means the money is going to Shifnal.

"If we delayed this gain, Shropshire Council may have lost patience and the funding may have gone elsewhere."

Shifnal Town Council also has a local fund which could be used to enhance the scheme, and a sub-committee is working to see how it could be spent.

Councillor Turley said he would not individually support any scheme lacking financial backing from Shropshire Council, but he would support his colleagues' decision if needed.

Councillor Kevin Turley

Councillor Turley said: "I haven't voted on this at town council meetings and have been open about not doing so.

"It will come to Shropshire Council in December and I'll support the decision of my colleagues at council, but my personal view is, I've never been in favour of nothing financially coming from Shropshire Council to this project.

"This project is going to save them money on roads maintenance in the long term so that benefit needs to be shown in some sort of relationship back to the people of Shifnal."

Councillor Turley highlighted the proposed Shrewsbury North West Relief Road, and said it will require funding from Shropshire Council and have little-to-no benefit for the people of Shifnal.

Councillors Turley and Bird both labelled the project a "difficult" and "developing" one.

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