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Bid to government to plug £86million funding gap in relief road plans

Catherine Thompson 28th Feb, 2019 Updated: 28th Feb, 2019

COUNTY chiefs are expected to put in an £86million bid for government funding for a controversial relief road.

Costs to build the South Western Relief Road (SWRR) are estimated at £130million.

The two-mile road is planned to run from near Orchard Hill Farm on Shipston Road, to Luddington Road close to the racecourse. It is expected to alleviate traffic created by new housing developments, including the Long Marston Airfield Garden Village scheme of 3,100 homes.

Both the road and garden village are included in the council’s core strategy, which shapes the future of the district until 2031.

Developer Cala Homes, which has been granted permission to build the first 400 homes in the garden village, has pledged a £44million contribution.

But to complete both schemes, Warwickshire County Council planning officers say the £130million pound bid must be met.

Campaigners from Stratford Residents Action Group (SRAG) have tirelessly protested against the relief road plans which received more than 1,000 objections during a public consultation last summer.

The group has urged the council to look at alternative schemes including a ring road around the town.

They fear the plans – which include a flyover across the Greenway and the River Avon – would impact the area and the natural flood plain. Other concerns include pollution, wildlife destruction and noise.

Chair Marion Homer said: “Since the start of our campaign SRAG has highlighted the difficulties of building a road in this area. The recent planning application endorsed those concerns with the Highways Agency suggesting that it would not alleviate traffic, and the Environment Agency raising flooding concerns.

“From the start Stratford District Council has positioned the SWRR as a ‘free road’ as it would be developer funded. Now we have the evidence that tax payers’ money will be needed to fund it and that it is not ‘free’ at all.”

A WCC report says if the funding is not secured it could prevent Stratford District Council from achieving its housing land supply. Cheaper options were being considered but are unlikely to be viable due to ‘highway constraints’.

The bid application proposal is expected to be granted during a WCC meeting on March 7.

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