1 C
Shropshire
Saturday, April 20, 2024
- Advertisement -

Campaigners vow to fight on as call for public inquiry rejected

Campaigners have been left disappointed but not surprised after Secretary of State Michael Gove rejected calls for a public inquiry into the North West Relief Road in Shrewsbury.

Campaigners against the road gathered outside Shirehall ahead of the meeting on Halloween. Photo: XR Shrewsbury
Campaigners against the road gathered outside Shirehall ahead of the meeting on Halloween. Photo: XR Shrewsbury

Better Shrewsbury Transport (BeST) received a letter from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities yesterday informing them that their application for a call in of the road scheme was unsuccessful.

The letter explains:

- Advertisement -

‘The Secretary of State uses his call-in power very selectively. The number of cases varies each year but recently the maximum number called-in has been between 10 and 20 in any one year […] On the basis of the information you have provided, the Secretary of State is content that the application should be determined by the local planning authority.’

In a follow up email in response to BeST’s request for an explanation of the grounds for refusal, the Department for Levelling Up stated:

‘The reason for this decision is that, having regard to the policy on call-in, the application did not involve issues of more than local importance justifying the Secretary of State’s intervention.’

Speaking for BeST Mike Streetly says:

“We’re disappointed, but not particularly surprised, that our request for a public inquiry was refused. However, the reason why it was rejected was very surprising. Shropshire Council has repeatedly told the public that the NWRR is a key piece of national and regional transport infrastructure. It seems they are mistaken about that, just as they are mistaken about so many other things regarding this disastrous road.”

BeST is now planning to apply for a judicial review which now has stronger grounds for being considered as all other avenues have been exhausted. The group is already fundraising to launch the legal challenge and around 180 people having donated almost £8,000 in just a few days.

Says Mike Streetly:

“Requesting a public inquiry was just the first step and we always assumed that this scheme would go to a judicial review which is what we are crowdfunding for. We’re hugely grateful to the 180 people who’ve donated so far. We saw a significant jump in donations yesterday after the MP for Shrewsbury publicised our campaign – perhaps inadvertently – by saying it was “deeply depressing”.

Judging by the comments being left on our crowdfunding page, people are worried about this road’s devastating effect on Shropshire’s countryside, the loss of ‘irreplaceable’ veteran trees like the Darwin Oak and eight others; and the risk to Shrewsbury’s drinking water supply. It’s now clear that people power is the only way to stop the road and prevent the council from wrecking everything we care about.’

The crowdfunder can be found at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nwrr

- Advertisement -

Advertisement Features

Featured Articles

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Advertisement Features

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -