THE £87 million Shrewsbury North West Relief Road has been described as a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’ by councillors in Oswestry.

Accusing Shropshire Council of ignoring the needs of the rest of the county in favour of Shrewsbury, Oswestry Town Council voted overwhelmingly to formally object to the scheme.

The public consultation into the road, which has been 30 years in the making, ended on Tuesday (today) and campaigners say there could be as many as 3,000 objections.

Speaking at a planning committee meeting on Monday evening, Councillor Olly Rose said: “I feel, as Oswestry Town Council, that we are almost honour-bound to make an objection to this.

“Although it is in Shrewsbury it does affect Oswestry.

“I know that cost alone isn’t a planning issue but it’s an incredible cost and it’s again centred on Shrewsbury at a loss to all the market towns in the rest of the county.

“The roads are in a terrible state and if there is money available from Shropshire Council for roads they should be repairing the potholes, looking at roads around the county and sorting them out first, so I think it does affect us.”


Cllr Rose said the project went “completely against” the climate emergency declared by Shropshire Council in 2019, was backed up by inadequate environmental surveys and could threaten the water supply.

She said the pandemic had rendered the whole project out-dated, and said Shropshire Council should be following the lead of other authorities in investing in public transport and active travel across the whole county – rather than a “white elephant” for the county town.

She added: “They should be putting money into improving the cycle lanes, walking, this kind of thing.

“Herefordshire, our neighbours to the south, have just turned down one of these propositions.

“They’ve changed their mind about building a similar type of road, and they’ve instead decided to invest in sustainable transport.

“Staffordshire to the north have done the same thing, they haven’t turned down a road but they have put a huge amount of money into very good sustainable transport.

“I feel like we’re lagging behind at this in Shropshire.”

Cllr Peter Cherrington said it was not right that the NWRR had been prioritised over vital safety improvements to existing roads elsewhere.

He said: “It’s a silly amount of money to be spent on a road which I feel at this time is unnecessary.

“For over 30 years we have cried out for a decent road on the A5 between Oswestry and Shrewsbury, (because of) the amount of accidents we have.

“I think that that is far more important than us spending money unnecessarily on a road which goes from nowhere to nowhere.”

Ten councillors voted to object to the application, while three abstained.

Shropshire Council says the four-mile road could be open to motorists by late 2023, taking traffic and pollution out of the town centre and sparing villages near Shrewsbury from being used as rat-runs, as well as freeing up valuable development land and boosting the county’s economy.

But campaigners argue the alleged benefits do not outweigh the environmental destruction, including the felling of ancient trees, and spoiling the tranquil “green wedge” to the north of the town.

To fund the project, the council has been awarded a £54.4m government grant and £4.2 million from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

The council will be liable for the remaining £28.5 million, some of which will come from money collected from housing developers through section 106 agreements and the community infrastructure levy (CIL).