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New study could provide alternative to Stratford Southern Western Relief Road plan

FRESH doubt has been cast on the future of the Southern Western Relief Road (SWRR) project following the announcement that a new study is to look at alternative – and sustainable – travel options.

Plans for the road form part of the development at Long Marston Airfield where thousands of homes are being built as part of a Garden Village.

However, the road currently doesn’t have the necessary funding and planning applications for the later phases of development at Long Marston and the SWRR remain in state of flux until the transport issues can be resolved.

While Stratford District Council has stressed the relief road remains an option, it has also announced that consultants will be commissioned to investigate sustainable transport options for Long Marston Airfield.

This work, the council said, will include how the Garden Village could become more self-contained and reduce the need for residents to travel.

The study could help resolve the need for millions of pounds to fund a relief road and provide greener transport solutions.

Cllr Daren Pemberton, the district council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for place and economy, said: “Long Marston Airfield could become a blueprint for what new large-scale developments should look like in a zero-carbon world.”

However, Cllr Pemberton continued: “The SWRR rightly remains on the table and its route is safeguarded. It remains the only identified solution (i.e. in the adopted Core Strategy), subject to planning permission being granted, to addressing the traffic impact of the new settlement.

“However, this new work is an opportunity for fresh thinking in light of climate change and Covid-19 and it is right that we explore every avenue. It may be that this work confirms the necessity of the SWRR. What we won’t be doing is pre-judging any outcomes.”

The district council has been working with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and Homes England to look at how to progress delivery of the Garden Village.

While highway modelling acknowledges the need for a relief road to the south-west of Stratford, the funding issues are a huge hurdle.

Planning applications for the remaining phases of Long Marston development and the SWRR have been submitted to the district council but have yet to be determined.

The district council added that the study is to be commissioned shortly and will be made available its website, www.stratford.gov.uk/lma in due course.

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