Campaigners have vowed to fight after levelling up secretary Michael Gove rejected calls for a public inquiry into the North West Relief Road (NWRR) in Shrewsbury.
Better Shrewsbury Transport (BeST) said it had received a letter informing it that its application for a call-in of Shropshire Council’s planning consent for the scheme was unsuccessful.
The letter said that on the basis of the information BeST provided, the levelling up secretary was content that the application should be determined by the local planning authority.
The NWRR, currently costed at £80.1m, would provide a new single carriageway road linking the northern and western parts of the town and include new bridges over the River Severn and the Shrewsbury-Chester railway line.
Shropshire Council’s planning committee considered and approved the authority's own application for the road in Shrewsbury in October.
But in an 58-page letter to the Government, BeST highlighted several concerns including a risk to drinking water, doubts over the council’s claim that the road will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ‘exceptional levels of opposition’.
Mike Streetly of BeST said it was ‘disappointed, but not particularly surprised,’ that the request for a public inquiry was refused.
BeST said it is now planning to apply for a judicial review, for which it is already fundraising.
Mr Streetly said: ‘Requesting a public inquiry was just the first step and we always assumed that this scheme would go to a judicial review.’
Shropshire Council has said the NWWR will take traffic out of Shrewsbury town centre, improve safety, help improve air quality and boost the county’s economy.
It added that the road is key piece of transport infrastructure that completes a ring around Shrewsbury that has been unfinished for 30 years.