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Fresh doubts raised about the building of Stratford's relief road





A source at Warwickshire County Council has told the Herald there is growing acceptance that Stratford’s controversial South Western Relief Road project is unlikely to happen.

The Herald has been told that a huge funding gap in the project and considerable public opposition have driven all parties involved to the conclusion.

It has also been said that the latest deadline for a decision on the road plan and its connected application for 3,100 homes at Long Marston Airfield is expected to be missed.

The district council currently has a target date of 30th September for a decision to be made on both applications, but it would appear highly unlikely that this will happen.

Should this be the case it will be the latest deadline that has been missed since the plans were submitted in 2018.

There have been question marks over the road for quite some time, with a funding bid for £86million towards the project having been turned down by the Government last year.

Despite no alternative funding having been secured since than, both the applications have remained steadfastly in the planning system, much to the annoyance of residents, who argue the situation leaves them living in a constant state of uncertainty.

Despite what the Herald was told, a spokesperson from CALA said: “We are still exploring funding opportunities for the South Western Relief Road” while a spokesperson for the district council said: “Stratford District Council is continuing to work with the applicant and Homes England to deliver Long Marston Airfield in its entirety.”

One group likely to be celebrating if the relief road is indeed in trouble is the Stratford Residents Action Group (SRAG), who have long argued that it is ‘the wrong road in the wrong place’.

The group has urged the councils and developer to look at alternatives to mitigating traffic from the site.

Dave Peregrine, chair of SRAG, said: “SRAG has become increasing concerned that the determination date for the SWRR planning application (30th September 2021) is almost upon us when the conundrum regarding the application is nowhere near being resolved.

“It must be seen that the current SWRR proposal is no longer viable and should either be withdrawn, or rejected by default as it cannot be delivered.

“The threat of the road should now be removed from the residents directly affected by this now increasingly unsustainable proposal.

“SRAG are delighted that there may be a dawning realisation that the South Western Relief Road is not appropriate and that this is the wrong road in the wrong place as we have always said.

“We are cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor the situation.”

While CALA still appear to be backing the relief road, the ongoing speculation about the future of the project is hard to ignore and should it not happen there could be huge ramifications for Stratford District Council’s Core Strategy.

CALA have always said that the majority of the houses rely on the road being built.

The council relies upon having a supply of land earmarked for potential housing development, and the Garden Village project at Long Marston plays a big role in that.

Should the road project stumble and an alternative cannot be found, it could put the new homes at Long Marston at risk and leave the council having to find sites for thousands of homes across the district or risk applications from speculative developers going through.



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