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Residents plea to end relief road uncertainty

Opponents of Stratford’s proposed South Western Relief Road (SWRR) are calling for the planning application to be withdrawn in order to end the frustrating uncertainty for residents.

The proposed design of the SWRR river crossing (49196642)
The proposed design of the SWRR river crossing (49196642)

CALA Homes, the developers of the Long Marston Garden Village housing scheme, say the delivery of the wider project is dependent on the SWRR going ahead, while the relief road is backed by both the district and county councils.

However a determined campaign spearheaded by the Stratford Residents Action Group has long opposed the road and has urged the developers and the council to properly explore alternatives.

CALA Homes have already agreed to provide in the region of £40million for the SWRR, but the cost of the project was last reported to be in excess of £130million.

At the beginning of 2020 the county council failed in a bid for £86million in government funding for the road, meaning their remains a huge hole in the financing of the project.

Given the lack of funding and the fact the planning application has remained in the planning system for more than three years, SRAG are calling for it to be removed.

They claim the continual presence of the application is causing frustration amongst residents.

Matthew Preece from SRAG said: “The current outdated planning application is sitting dormant on SDC’s planning web pages. With the only regular update being a rolling 3 month objection from Highways England advising that planning permission is not to be granted because the issues they raised with Cala Homes back in 2019 have not been addressed.

“We just want some closure and this application is now totally out of date.

“With so much going against the SWRR and funding being declined in early 2020, as the scheme did not offer value for money, this outdated Planning application must be withdrawn. Morally and ethically, to continue with a vastly out of date application and leave Stratford without a long term strategic Transport and Infrastructure Plan is wrong.”

This week Warwickshire County Council seemed to have no answers as to where they may be able to gain funding for the road.

A spokesperson for the county council said: "The South Western Relief Road is required to support the development of the Long Marston Airfield Garden Village and remains subject to a planning application which was submitted by CALA Homes and is being determined by Stratford-on-Avon District Council.

"The County Council worked with the District Council and CALA Homes to submit a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund for funding towards the cost of the road.

"This bid was unsuccessful and there is currently no funding stream available to which the County Council could seek funding of the scale required.

"The County Council will continue to work with the District Council and CALA Homes to review any potential funding opportunities that emerge."

Stratford District Council said the decision to withdraw the application rested with the applicant and delivering the SWRR remains a commitment of the council’s Core Strategy.

A spokesperson for Cala Homes said: “We are still exploring funding opportunities for the South Western Relief Road, this is an ongoing process requiring a live application.”

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