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7th Dec, 2021

Move to extend relief road application deadline is 'illogical' say campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS have called the move to extend decision dates for the South Western Relief Road and related Long Marston Airfield development ‘illogical’.

The applications for the relief road and CALA Homes linked 3,5000 home development will now run until March for further consideration by Stratford District Council (SDC)

The controversial £130million road – which was initially costed at £30million – would run from near Orchard Hill Farm on Shipston Road to Luddington Road, close to the racecourse, and also include a flyover.

SDC deputy leader Coun Daren Pemberton said: “Both these applications are crucial to the delivery ‘Garden Village’ at Long Marston Airfield and play a significant role in the wider Core Strategy. They both have significant complexities and public interest which is why it is important to ensure there is transparency and clarity in the PPA in terms of the timescales involved.

“This extension enables the applications to remain under active consideration whilst all the key issues arising are properly and fully assessed and evaluated as part of the planning decision making process.”

Aside from some 1,000 objections, a significant funding gap after a £86,000 government bid was turned down, and further doubt cast by DEFRA over flood concerns are among issues causing the road’s delay.

Stratford Residents Action Group (SRAG) has long been calling for the plans to be scrapped due to the road’s impact on the existing network and the environment, as well as its effectiveness in tackling traffic congestion.

A spokesman said: “SRAG are baffled as the decision defies logic. We are told that all parties are seeking a solution, yet nothing seems to be happening to resolve the outstanding issues with the application. These issues would not be able to be resolved by March 2022 given the amount of work necessary.

“Everything that SRAG has said about this ill-conceived proposal have proved to be correct. We do not believe that this road can or should be built. Nothing can be gained from this further extension of the planning deadline except to heap further uncertainty upon those directly affected.”

In August, a source at Warwickshire County Council revealed there was a ‘growing acceptance on all sides’ that the road is unlikely to be delivered.

They believed land options for the road would come up for renewal in January and added costs could lead to its withdrawal by CALA.

The potential move would impact the LMA and potentially cause housing issues.

One solution being explored by Homes England, the district and county councils, is to encourage greener travel and create a modal shift to reduce traffic and congestion. But doubts surround the viability of the solution to create a significant enough shift to deliver the aims of the relief road.

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