£9.3 million road scheme announced for Oswestry
A £9.3 million scheme to improve Shropshire's A5 will help bring hundreds of new homes to Oswestry.
The government has announced that it is giving the grant to the Oswestry area as part of an £866m investment in vital infrastructure projects across England to help get up to 200,000 potential new homes off the ground.
The 'Western Shropshire Interchange Improvements – Unlocking the Marches Gateway for Housing & Employment Growth' – will allow Oswestry's southern urban extension to go ahead, with about 750 houses planned.
Two roundabouts on the A5/A483 will be improved and a new roundabout on the Shrewsbury Road going into Oswestry, will be built to provide an access into the new developments.
There will also be a footbridge built from the housing land over the Oswestry bypass on to land designated to become an employment park.
Shropshire Council's deputy leader, Steve Charmley, said it was fantastic news for Oswestry. He revealed that the bid had been put forward by a Shropshire Council team.
Oswestry's Mile End roundabout, which saw a £4 million roadwork scheme completed four years ago, will be redesigned, to allow for the extra traffic pressure that the housing will put on the roads.
The Whittington island to the north will also be improved, again to cope with the expected extra traffic.
Councillor Charmley said: "The scheme also includes a pedestrian footbridge to take those living in the new houses across to the Innovation Park."
"This is fantastic news and will benefit not only plans for much needed new housing in the area but also plans for a new employment park.
"Those new businesses that come to the site will need a workforce so the housing and employment land go hand-in-hand."
The funding is part of the government's £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund with Oswestry one of scores of schemes to benefit.
The employment park is a scheme being worked up by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
Its vice-chair, Mandy Thorn, said: "This work will be a catalyst for economic growth in Oswestry. It is vital that development land for housing and employment is delivered and infrastructure is put in place to allow that to happen.
"Improvements on this stretch of the A5 will also help lift constraints which limit the area's potential to attract businesses and investment.
"The project will kick-start a new phase of prosperity for Oswestry, the second largest market town in Shropshire, benefitting the people who live and work there, both now and in the future."
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, who has been campaigning for improvements to the A5, tweeted that it was "great news".
"It is vital investment for potential new housing development in north Shropshire," he said.