A report on the north west relief road went to full Council on 17 May. The report can be viewed here at agenda item 12.
- Provides an update on the progress towards the recently confirmed funding offer for the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (NWRR), following the submission of an Outline Business Case (OBC under the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Large Local Majors (LLM) funding programme in December 2017.
- Restates the future financial commitment required by the council on programme entry to the LLM.
- Describes Shropshire Council’s NWRR Programme Delivery arrangements, to include team structures, stakeholder engagement, internal and external reporting arrangements, and wider communications plans.
A report on the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road’s governance and performance management arrangements went to Shropshire Council’s place overview committee on 18 July 2019.
The report updated Scrutiny on the governance, project management and Member /stakeholder engagement arrangements in place to support the delivery of the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road. It also describes Shropshire Council’s Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (SNWRR) programme delivery arrangements, to include team structures, stakeholder engagement, internal and external reporting arrangements, and risk management.
The report can be viewed here at item 7.
Shropshire Council has withdrawn its planning application for the Oxon Link Road in Shrewsbury, and will instead include the proposed road within the planning application for the Shrewsbury north west relief road (NWRR).
The decision has been taken following the award of £54m of funding from the Department for Transport towards the construction of the north west relief road.
By combining the schemes, the Oxon Link Road can more easily contribute to the strategic objective of the NWRR, whilst also better delivering on the link road’s specific goal of facilitating the Shrewsbury West Urban Extension (SUE).
A new combined planning application will be submitted in Spring 2020.
Further information can be found here.
The environmental impact of the NWRR
The environmental impact of the north west relief road was considered and fully explained as part of the published outline business case, with the impact balanced against the considerable positive environmental outcomes in terms of air quality, traffic levels, road safety, and increases in forecast walking/cycling activity and public transport use within the town itself. Plans to take in ongoing management of the Hencote Pool RAMSAR site alongside the road’s proposed route, to ensure the proper ongoing management of this key environmentally-sensitive habitat, are also included in the business case.
Shropshire Council is committed to delivering bio-diversity improvements as part of a comprehensive package of measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of the road. Since the funding announcement, the council has been working closely with the Environment Agency and Severn Trent to address their early concerns regarding the road. The council will continue to work with stakeholders and undertake further public consultation before submitting the planning application in spring of next year.
In advance of the Business Case’s submission to the DfT in December 2017, Shropshire Council undertook extensive public and stakeholder consultation including a number of very well attended events. The environmental case was a key aspect of this consultation, and Friends of the Earth were invited, and attended, all of these events alongside the council to fully set out their own position.
On 16 December, Cabinet approved a proposal for Shropshire Council to combine the North West Relief Road (NWRR) and Oxon Link Road (OLR) into one project.
Since the announcement of government funding for the NWRR - and with the two schemes being intrinsically linked – council officers have explored the option of combining the two projects. The funding award for the NWRR undermined the case for a standalone application for the OLR, and the planning application for the OLR was withdrawn in August 2019.
To date, the OLR and the NWRR projects have been developed as individual projects based on separate Outline Business Cases (OBC) and funding streams.
The OLR - part-funded by the Marches LEP through the Growth Deal fund - seeks to provide a local distributor road to facilitate the Shrewsbury West Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE).
The NWRR - part-funded by the Department for Transport through the Large Local Majors fund - seeks to provide a new strategic link between the west and north of Shrewsbury to improve journey times and relieve the town centre from through traffic.
The two schemes are intrinsically linked in providing the completion of the outer Shrewsbury Ring Road, and the report to Cabinet showed that a combined scheme would offer significant strategic benefits:
- Better value for money. The changed nature of the OLR will improve the transport user benefits – increasing the benefit for private, commuter and business users.
- Improved pedestrian and cycle safety. The strategic nature of the combined scheme justifies the inclusion of pedestrian and cycle overbridges at the OLR section.
- Improved investment perception. Creation of a single flag-ship project promotes Shrewsbury and Shropshire as a place for investment.
- Reduced real-terms costs. Through economies-of-scale and efficient working practices the combined scheme costs would be less than the delivery of two separate projects.
The combined scheme will align to the NWRR delivery programme with the key milestone noted below.
- Planning application – 19 February 2021
- Public inquiry – September 2021 to late spring 2022
- Construction start – spring / summer 2022
- Road open and fully complete – spring 2024
A public consultation was held in early 2020 to give stakeholders and residents an opportunity to comment on the combined scheme in advance of the planning application, which is due to be submitted in early 2021. This consultation is now closed, but details can still be found on our consultation portal.
A NWRR planning application was due to be submitted in July 2020, but this was put on hold while we considered the implications of the funding announcement for the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme (SVWMS). This process has now been completed and the following concluded. The planning application will be for a road scheme only and will include a viaduct across the River Severn and its flood plain at Shelton, instead of an extended embankment design that was proposed in the public consultation earlier this year.
The planning application for the road was submitted on Friday 19 February 2021, and engagement with landowners and stakeholders will continue. Clearly, the planning process will present a key opportunity for the whole community to engage in the decision-making process.
Contractors working on our behalf are currently undertaking further Ground Investigations works in relation to the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (NWRR). These works will include things like core soil samples and ground conditions surveys, which will provide further information to assist with ongoing detailed designs for the road.
For the period of these works, the site compound is located on a section of the Oxon Park and Ride site, which will therefore see low level vehicle and staff movements on a daily basis from Monday 10 May to the end of September 2021.
These works are being undertaken in parallel with the current NWRR planning application. More information on this is available in our news section.
A revised planning application has recently (26 August 2021) been submitted to Shropshire Council’s planning department following the initial planning application in February 2021.
This revised planning application includes a number of changes, made in response to the feedback we’ve had, plus detailed surveying of the proposed site over the last few months allowing for lower carbon construction methods, less construction traffic and more reusing of earth to build embankments.
So, what are these changes and what do they mean?
- Simplification of the scheme’s River Severn viaduct will mean that the carbon impact from construction will be cut by 31% (equivalent to 22,200 tonnes of carbon).
- Current estimated cost of building the proposed road reduced by £7 million A reduction of the construction area means more trees (more mature trees to be kept and more trees to be planted).
- 7 km of new cycleways, bridleways and footpaths added to the North of Shrewsbury.
- Free up road space in Shrewsbury to encourage more walking and cycling in the town.
- Reduce journey times in and around Shrewsbury, cut traffic through village “rat runs” north of Shrewsbury and provide a significant boost to business across Shropshire.
- This revised planning application is now open for comments and engagement with landowners and stakeholders will continue.
A planning decision on the road is expected later this year.
In October 2023 the secretary of state for transport Mark Harper said the government would 'fully fund' the scheme.
The NWRR was granted planning permission, subject to agreement of the Section 106 and conditions, on 31 October 2023.
There is no re-application process and the final decision will be made once the Section 106 and conditions are agreed. But planning approval is just the start. Once the final decision notice is issued the final business case (FBC) can be completed and this will then be discussed by full council, before being submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT). It’s only when the scheme receives DfT approval that we can complete the procurement process and work can start.
The NWRR was granted planning permission, subject to agreement of the Section 106 and conditions, on 31 October 2023. These conditions, 62 in total, were considered and approved at planning committee on 15 February 2024.
Work to complete the required Section 106 agreements is now taking place, which will allow for full planning permission to be granted this spring (2024).
Alongside this, work is also underway to prepare for the building of the road and create a full business case (FBC) which will be considered by full council before being shared with the Department for Transport (DfT) later this year.
It’s only when the scheme receives DfT approval that we can complete the procurement process and work can start.