Stafford Western Access Route nears go-ahead

Highways Reporters

A £35 million roads scheme in Stafford is set to get the go-ahead from Staffordshire County Council.

Lagan Construction Group subsidiary FK Lowry Piling has completed a £30,000 package of preliminary test piling on the proposed route of the Stafford Western Access Route for contractor Amey, and next week a council cabinet meeting is expected to approve compulsory purchase powers for the land.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “The new road will improve traffic flow around the town, helping to reduce congestion which restricts business and in addition improve access to improved rail services. Any project of this size is liable to change over time as detailed plans are drawn up, negotiations with landowners progress and timescales shift and so we have seen the project cost go up. We are committed to its delivery and will front the funding gap in order for the road to be built as quickly as possible. This project is vital to Stafford and will bring significant long-term economic benefits to the borough.”

The scheme, which will connect the A518 Newport Road to the A34 Foregate Street, is expected to relieve traffic congestion, allow thousands of new homes to be built and improve access to increased rail services through Stafford and its connection to the new high speed rail link, HS2.

“The Stafford Western Access Route is an essential part of Stafford’s ambitious growth plans,” added Mr Winnington.

“It will enable future development contained in the borough’s local plan to happen – notably the delivery of thousands of new homes and business, office and retail space. The route will unlock millions of pounds worth of future investment in Stafford. Future economic growth ensures people can access better paid jobs leading to more prosperous communities. These will also be places where there are more opportunities and people enjoy healthier more independent lives.

“In addition the way councils are funding is changing. The introduction of 100 per cent business rate retention will lead to council becoming self-funding and major projects like this will support essential services.

At the meeting, the cabinet will also be asked to approve additional funding for the scheme, which will be borrowed and reclaimed through developer contributions, future business rates and additional council tax generated from new homes.

The county council, which will make a total contribution to the Stafford Western Access Route of £11.6 million, expects the project would help generate an extra £2 million in council tax every year.
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