SHREWSBURY NORTH WEST RELIEF ROAD
The original planning application of March 2021 for the North West Relief Road (with 604 documents to plough through) was amended in September. The design of the river crossing has been amended, to save costs. CPRE Shropshire, along with other campaign groups, believes the road would be hugely expensive and highly damaging. Our objection letter to last year's consultation says more (see paragraphs 4 and 44 for a summary).
We are co-operating with Better Shrewsbury Transport (BeST) who are heading up a coalition of groups that includes Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Shrewsbury FoE , CPRE, Sustainable Transport Shropshire and XR Shrewsbury as well as the local Green and Liberal Democrat parties. They are co-ordinating objections to the scheme. There are now nearly 4,800 objections on the planning website, which is an astonishing number of objections and which shows the enormous opposition to it. In the May 2021 Shropshire Council elections, the former leader Peter Nutting lost his Copthorne seat because of this opposition.
In autumn 2020 news came out that the NWRR was to have an Environment Agency sponsored barrage under its river crossing to alleviate flooding in Shrewsbury and downstream. That would inevitably have have increased flooding upstream. The outcry from those upstream, and the delay that would have been caused to the application now means that the barrage idea has been dropped from the current planning application. The Environment Agency say the idea has been "parked".
There are many examples throughout the country of relief roads and by-passes that have attempted to overcome perceived transport bottlenecks; however in virtually all cases relief has proved temporary and the original problem has returned as additional traffic has built up.
CPRE’s main objection to this particular proposal, in addition to climate change issues, is the loss of open countryside and the potential damage to the area around the new route.
The proposals for a NWRR have been around for decades. In 2004 CPRE in conjunction with Shropshire Council carried out a Landscape Character Survey around the then perimeter of the town of Shrewsbury. The completed survey covered 66 separate parcels of land which were subdivided by the quality and character of their landscape. Only 14 of the 66 land parcels surveyed warranted a Category 1 classification. This was defined as: “Landscape which is outstandingly rich in character. It is generally undeveloped and unaffected by any surrounding development, which, if present, is well screened. In many cases (but not all) these areas are associated with the Severn Valley. Most of these areas include rights of way which are widely used for leisure activities. Development within or adjacent to these areas would be extremely detrimental to the Shropshire landscape as a whole, and to the setting and character of Shrewsbury in particular.”
No less than 8 of the 14 Category 1 areas lie in the northwest sector of the town.
The proposed NWRR would drive straight through this relatively undeveloped area. Once the road was completed, or even before completion, residential, commercial and industrial development alongside the road would bring noise and pollution and rapidly destroy the character of the area.
CPRE believes that the destruction of the countryside that the North West Relief Road would result in outweighs any benefits it might bring.
Updated March 2022