Wem must 'manage expectations' around funding for a relief road

Reporter:

Barrie White

Wem will need to manage expectations of residents for a potential relief road as North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson confirmed funding will not come from the Department of Transport.

Town mayor Councillor Edward Towers met with Mr Paterson, Cllr Tim Wilton-Morgan, from Wem Rural Parish Council plus Steve Davenport, Steve Brown and Matt Johnson, all from Shropshire Council in November.

Cllr Towers told his fellow councillors at last night’s full town council meeting that the meeting was a constructive one.

He said: “It was great to meet Shropshire Council and Wem Rural and have a frank discussion, which was sympathetic to Wem.

“Having Owen Paterson there was very helpful and he reminded us all how important this project is in the long term.

“If we’re going to get anywhere, we need to know what we want and Wem Rural do too, with Shropshire Council.

“Steve Brown told us to manage expectations. We are but it can’t be kicked into the long grass but we can’t do anything until the survey is back.”

A report received by councillors stated Mr Paterson told the gathering that he had visited Chris Grayling, the transport minister, to discuss proposals for the Wem road, but was told funding for towns without an A road through it was not available.

Therefore, unless government funding can be found, it would have to be funded completely by Shropshire.

Mr Paterson stated his preferred route would be from Shawbury Road crossing Soulton Road and linking into Whitchurch Road.

He also stated one way to pay for the road is through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments, which would come from more approved housing development on the east side of town.

Mr Brown told the meeting he would take this to the planning policy team but added if the money raised was used, there might not be enough for other projects, and also added that expectations need to be managed.

It was agreed to meet in again in the new year once the survey on the Local Plan currently out to Wem residents results have been collated.

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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