FIRST design proposals for Stratford’s controversial South Western Relief Road have all been branded as a ‘huge concrete flyover’ by the group fighting the plan.
The proposed relief road is a highly divisive issue in Stratford with a group of residents called the Stratford Residents’ Action Group (SRAG) vocal in its condemnation of the £30million project.
Earlier this month initial design proposals were presented to the Long Marston and SW Relief Road Steering Group at Stratford District Council, detailing the options being looked at.
Last week the Herald was given access to the leaked design proposals, which have been produced by engineering practice Peter Brett on behalf of CALA homes.
As the proposed relief road would have to cross the river, the document focuses primarily on the large bridge structure which would form an integral part of the project, putting forward three distinct concepts at this initial stage.
The first is for a double bow string arch bridge, the second is for a single tied arch bridge while the final option is for what is described as a ‘functional bridge’.
The design proposal for a functional bridge suggests artwork panels could be attached to the structure to create ‘a unique focal point on the landscape’.
Each option would include a viaduct approach and the length of the bridge itself could be between either 1,050m or 605m in length.
SRAG say that all the designs appear to take the shape of a large concrete flyover, which, they claim, at its highest point would tower 11m metres above the ground.
The group also claims that due its height, the road will be visible from both Holy Trinity Church and the RSC terrace, while traffic and construction noise would be heard across the town.
And they are now putting pressure on councillors to look seriously at alternatives as they feel local politicians are opting for an easy life by simply going with the plans put forward by CALA.
If approved, CALA would construct the relief road as part of its agreement to build houses on Long Marston Airfield.
However, SRAG accuse CALA of only being interested in building a road as cheaply as possible, without taking account of what is best for the area.
Marion Homer, chairman of SRAG, said: “Our councillors stressed to us that the documents they showed us were only indicative of current proposals and they could not leave us with the plans.
“However, it is quite evident that what is being suggested is a concrete flyover.
“Stratford really needs to wake up to the fact that, due to laziness or going for the easy option, SDC are allowing a planner to decide what is the best for Stratford and these proposals will destroy Stratford and bring no relief to our current traffic chaos.
“If the town does not wake up to the fact that what they are planning is a concrete flyover that will bring thousands of cars unnecessarily into our town this road will happen.
“We must not rest on our laurels — our politicians just do not seem to have the time, inclination/appetite or energy to save our town from this complete disaster, so it’s up to the community of Stratford to do it.
“The only way we can ensure this road is properly thought through is by making the political climate so difficult for our councillors that they are forced to spend the time looking at viable alternatives.
“It’s terrible the local community has to work so hard to save our town and not expect our elected representatives to do this for us — this is why they are in office, that is their job — but they are not doing it.
“The ‘do nothing option’ is not an option. If we don’t work out alternatives to this concrete flyover it will mean the destruction of Stratford, and for no positive benefit to anyone other than CALA Homes.”
Cllr Richards, portfolio holder for housing and infrastructure at Stratford District Council, said: “These designs are preliminary design options produced by CALA’s planning consultants, Peter Brett Associates. At this stage they are purely an indication of work undertaken by CALA and their consultants, no final decision has been made on them and they will be subject to change.
“As the chairman of the LMA Steering Group I have requested that CALA hold a public consultation on their design options. CALA have confirmed that this will happen in the next month.”
A planning application for the relief road has yet to be submitted to planners, although a scoping application, seen very much as the precursor to a full planning application, was submitted in May.