Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 18:06 UK

Shrewsbury relief road project 'put on hold'

The route of the North West Relief Road
Campaigners say the route threatens the landscape

A £100m relief road project in Shropshire has been put on hold because of a spending review at the Department for Transport (DfT), a council says.

A business plan for the North West Relief Road around Shrewsbury was to be submitted to the government in August, but will now be delayed.

Shropshire Council said the review from the Dft is not specific to the road but it will wait until it is completed.

A public consultation over plans for the road ends on 17 May.

It is thought the review could take place later this year, the council said.

Discussions for the route were first discussed by the then Shropshire County Council in the mid 1980s.

In light of this, it is right to defer any further work on the project until the conclusion of the review
Keith Barrow, leader of Shropshire Council

It said it would cut traffic in the town centre and reduce journey times between the north and west of the town.

But those against have said it would be a "short-term fix at a high cost" and was a threat to the landscape.

If the business plan had been submitted this summer, planning would then be sought and the council has said a public inquiry would inevitably follow.

If approved, building work was expected to start in 2014 with the first cars using the road in 2017.

Confirming the delay, Keith Barrow, Shropshire Council's leader, said it would wait until the DfT's position was clearer.

"The DfT information is not specific to the relief road and covers any new schemes seeking approval," he said.

"In light of this, it is right to defer any further work on the project until the conclusion of the review.

"We will therefore not be making a decision on submitting the business case until there is clear advice from DfT on its future budgets."

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