North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is backing a consultation on potential new housing in Wem which could lead to a long-awaited relief road for the town.

Speaking to BBC Radio Shropshire, Mr Paterson said he is doubtful that public money could be easily accessible for a new road to relieve the pressure on the town centre.

But he thinks the recent consultation from Wem Town Council is a positive step towards residents deciding if new housing will fund the potential road.

“It is extraordinary that Wem has come through the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s with a medieval street plan which is now causing real damage,” he said.

“The town council has come up with a very sensible plan and there’s a consultation out basically asking the people of the town would they like more housing?

“Would they like options on a road, which isn’t national money – that is probably doubtful – would they like more housing to help pay for the road?”

Councillor Steve Davenport, from Shropshire Council, is portfolio holder for transport and he believes Wem has the chance to become a ‘major commuter town’.

He added: “(The consultation) is the first time we have got the bones of a plan that can go into either Shropshire Council or the government to go looking for pots of money to make it happen.

“On the wider picture, if HS2 does happen and goes through Crewe, we’re a close town to there.”

Residents will have received their consultation and are urged to return it to the town council by December 4.