THE developer behind Stratford’s proposed South Western Relief Road has conceded that it is unlikely a decision will be made on the planning application this year.
Over recent months a number of statutory consultees have requested further information about the project from developer Cala Homes, leading some to speculate that the September target date for a decision on the application was unlikely.
This week Mike Emmett, strategic land director at Cala, admitted he did not believe a decision would be made in 2019.
Mr Emmett said: “It’s not likely to be September, we’ve had a number of requests for extra information from statutory consultees and we’re aiming to come back to them in around October.
“Realistically with those timescales it doesn’t seem likely that there will be a decision on the application this year, I don’t think it’s any secret that it has been pushed back a bit.
“We’re waiting for a decision to be made on the county council funding application with the Housing Infrastructure Fund and then for a decision on the planning application itself.”
The news comes as the Stratford Residents Action Group prepares to hold its AGM next week, highlighting the work it has done over the past 12 months to fight the road.
The group, which has been highly vocal in opposing the road, will hold its AGM at Stratford Girls Grammar School next Tuesday, 9th July, at 7.30pm and is open to all.
It will also give SRAG the opportunity to promote its fundraising activities to raise cash for any future legal challenge and to elect new members to its committee.
Since September SRAG has delivered 16,000 campaign leaflets in Stratford, put up large banners around the town, run stall at the Rother Street Market and worked with planning consultants to review the road application.
Objections to the road from organisations such as the Environment Agency have helped SRAG’s cause, while the group has also met with Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, to discuss their concerns about the project.
Alongside all of this is the issue of funding for the road, with the latest estimates costing the project at around £130million, far above the £44million the developer CALA Homes has agreed to contribute.
To make up the shortfall, Warwickshire County Council are currently in the process of bidding for £86million from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.
However there is no news yet on whether this has been successful and there is some anger that so much taxpayers’ money could potentially be spent on the road.
Marion Homer, from SRAG, said: “SRAG aren’t at all surprised to learn that CALA are delayed in submitting their response to the objections generated by their planning application. As we know, over 1200 local residents voiced objections and significant concerns have been raised by the Environmental Agency over flood risk, and the Highways Agency over the viability of the so called South Western Relief Road.
“Meanwhile, our councillors appear to be no closer to resolving our horrendous traffic congestion. It is evident that the SWRR is utterly flawed and we would hope, now the elections are over and they are settled in office, that they could provide some effective leadership to offer a long term viable solution.
“We warmly welcome everyone to attend our AGM on July 9th 7.30pm at Stratford Girls Grammar School. We will be providing an update on our campaign over the last year and guest speaker Peter Wharton, of Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants, will talk about the economic value of trees and green spaces- a vitally important issue that affects the proposed location of this road.”
The AGM takes place on Tuesday at 7.30pm at Stratford Girls Grammar School and is open to the public.
The road application is linked to another application from CALA to construct 3,100 homes at Long Marston Airfield, who argue that it is needed to mitigate traffic from that development.