21/02/2024 - Permalink

Capital money sought to progress Shrewsbury North West Relief Road plans 

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Economic growth / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance / Housing / Partner organisations

A report seeking the authority for a further £16.981m capital funding towards delivery of the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (NWRR) will be considered at a meeting of Shropshire Council’s Full Council next week (Thursday 29 February 2024). 

This follows approval of the planning conditions at last week’s Northern Planning Committee meeting (Thursday 15 February 2024), reflects the increase in costs due to the complexity and scale of the scheme, as well as an extended planning process and subsequent high inflation rates.  

The money will be used to complete several key preparatory activities that have been delayed by the elongation of the planning process, alongside the completion of the Full Business Case (FBC), which is expected later this year. 

If approved, the request is not for any extra funding and forms part of the council’s existing commitment to the scheme. This money would be drawn down to be used now instead of later. Around £7m, or 40%, of this will come from the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the Large Local Majors Grant for 24/25, with the remaining money being match funded by the council through developer contributions. 

The money would be used to fund advance works costs for things like the diversion of utilities and creating new habitats for protected species, £181,500 to deliver the FBC, and £300,000 to cover the funding gap between the current council spend delegation and costs incurred to date.  

Dan Morris, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said: 

“This additional budget delegation is needed to enable us to complete the FBC process on time and to the required quality and standards, ensuring that the scheme’s costs, benefits, risks, and delivery plan are robustly and transparently assessed and presented.” 

The estimated cost of the road remains at £80.7m, although a revised figure is currently being sought and this will be shared as part of the FBC, which will be considered by the council before being submitted to the DfT in December 2024. 

As many will know, in October 2023, Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport, said the Government would “fully fund” the scheme. No formal offer has yet been received by the council. This offer, however, explicitly states that it will address the recent uncontrollable inflationary pressures for councils in delivering such projects. 

Council officers are in regular contact with the DfT and have been given no reason to believe that Government support for the Shrewsbury NWRR will be anything other than that announced by the Secretary of State.  Further guidance on this is expected imminently. 

As a capital scheme, the money set aside for this cannot, by law, be used to pay for the day-to-day running of council services. 

To read the report, people can visit the council’s committee webpages here.

To watch Full Council on Thursday 29 February 2024 at 10am via YouTube livestream, click here.

More about Shrewsbury North West Relief Road 

The NWRR scheme is a strategic transport project that aims to provide a new single carriageway road linking the northern and western parts of Shrewsbury, reducing congestion, improving air quality, and supporting economic growth and allocated housing delivery in the area. It will also act as an enabler to Shrewsbury town centre projects around Riverside, LUF2 and the provision of enhanced active travel measures under the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Movement Strategy.

Additional benefits include: 

  • Reducing congestion and journey times on the existing road network, especially in the town centre, by providing a new and more efficient route for local and strategic traffic. 
  • Improving air quality and public health by reducing emissions and noise from traffic, and by encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport, such as walking, cycling, and public transport. 
  • Supporting economic growth and regeneration by improving the accessibility and the connectivity of Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas, and by creating new opportunities for business, employment, housing, and tourism. 
  • Enhancing the quality of life and the wellbeing of the local community by reducing the negative impacts of traffic on the historic and natural environment, and by providing new green spaces and recreational facilities. 
  • As such, the project will align in part or fully with the Healthy Economy, Healthy People and Healthy Environment pillars within The Shropshire Plan. 

For further information, people can visit the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road webpages here.