CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a South Western Relief Road in Stratford-upon-Avon have dismissed a council report which suggests the authority has examined alternative routes.
The report was quietly published on the district council’s website at the end of July and claims to have looked at alternative routes and options for the road, and goes on to briefly talk about why they were unsuitable.
Stratford Residents’ Action Group (SRAG) has been vocal in criticising the council for not fully investigating alternative options or publicly consulting on such options.
SRAG claims that the authority is simply allowing CALA Homes to build the road in the most convenient place for them and not where it is most suitable for residents.
Marion Homer, chairman of SRAG, said: “When CALA originally put forward the proposal for the SWRR, it received little attention because development at Long Marston Airfield was not part of the core strategy.
“However, when core strategy housing targets were increased Long Marston became part of the plan. This decision was made at short notice and was never subject to rigorous assessment. The subsequent supposed look at alternatives, has been nothing more than a cursory box-ticking exercise unsupported by any robust expert evidence.
“Most importantly, a package of alternatives has never been consulted upon, nor has the public of Stratford ever been able to put forward their views on the best solution for such a large, important and potentially harmful piece of infrastructure.”
Mrs Homer added: “Perhaps SDC would like to advise exactly who undertook these assessments? This document pulls together information from a variety of sources but it does not constitute a thorough evaluation.
“If it was CALA who undertook these so-called assessments (or an agent instructed by them) clearly they won’t be objective. Stratford’s community deserves better than this.”
Claire Wise, SRAG secretary, added: “These ‘alternatives’ are borderline insulting. They are not true alternatives and include options such as tunnelling under the flood plain. This document is a long way from a strategic assessment of any real suitable alternatives.
“The document was created for the stakeholders’ meeting in an attempt to pretend some sort of research had been undertaken. The reality is far from the truth. We have challenged Cllr Peter Richards [the district council’s housing and infrastructure portfolio holder] on these statements and he is yet to respond.”
Earlier this month the Herald exclusively revealed the very first design proposals for the South Western Relief Road, which chiefly focussed on what a new bridge over the river would look like.
No planning application has yet been submitted for the relief road, though a scoping application, seen as a precursor to a full planning application, was submitted back in April.