Debt fears over Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road cost

Shropshire Council will spend up to £15 million on the North West Relief Road – despite serious warnings from councillors.

An artist's impression of the new road around Shrewsbury
An artist's impression of the new road around Shrewsbury

Members received an update on the proposed Shrewsbury highway at a meeting in Shirehall yesterday and signed off the paper which sets out future council spending.

Leader of the council Peter Nutting said: “This has been talked about since I was a boy and hopefully it will be delivered while I can still see it.

“It will take three or four years to do it but I am confident that in four to five years you will be able to drive along this route.”

It was announced in March that the council had been successful in its bid for £54m funding from the Department for Transport.

The road will link Battlefield and Oxon Link Road, and will be designed to take traffic out of the town centre.

But a number of councillors raised serious concerns about the project and the amount of money the authority will need to spend to bring it to fruition.

Concerns

Councillor Kevin Turley said he feared the scheme would put the council into debt in the future.

He added: “We have just spoken at length about carbon emissions and this seems to go against that.

“There is growing concern that this road will work very much for the central area but not for the rest of the county.

“If you can find money for this then we should be able to find it for the rest of the county.

“If we are so concerned about traffic in Shrewsbury then we have to look into improving bus services and green transport around the town. The money we’re going to spend could be spent elsewhere.”

Councillor Julian Dean echoed the views and suggested the money be spent on other modes of transport.

He said: “In my area I recognise there is a lot of people who support this scheme.

“We’re taking a serious risk. It’s a £15m punt just to see if it is true that the government is going to have the money for us.

“This is really taking an enormous risk,” he said.

“This money could be spent doing the work we need to change transport modes and get rid of cars.”

The total cost of the road, which is subject to planning consent, is expected to be £71m.

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