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Look at North West Link Road one more time, pleads Tory
CALLS are being made to revisit Worcester's North West Link Road dream - amid fears building more homes will lead to traffic gridlock.
A leading Worcester politician says if 27,000 new homes are needed in south Worcestershire, a £160 million completed ring road "must happen".
Councillor Roger Knight has raised the stakes for the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) saying if it needs to take an extra 4,100 properties taxpayers need a finished ring road in return.
As your Worcester News revealed yesterday (Tue), district councils in Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon have revised the housing figure in the SWDP after Government inspector Roger Clews said the old figure of 23,200 wasn't enough.
The new one is 26,700 to 27,300, meaning it could surge up to 17 per cent if Mr Clews accepts it.
Yesterday we reported how politicians are already at loggerheads over where 4,100 extra homes could go.
Cllr Knight, a former cabinet member for the environment in Worcester, said: "There is no doubt about it, we can't be without a North West Link Road.
"There's no question, we need that ring road complete because we can't take any more homes in Worcester without it.
"These three councils and their elected officials have come up with a plan over an extended period of time and if that isn't deemed acceptable we must look at it."
Back in 2010 the county council revealed proposals for a north-west link road, which would link the Claines and Crown East roundabouts, run through Lower Broadheath and include a river bridge either west or east of Hallow.
But since then the project has died a slow death, not least because the costs are likely to top £160 million.
A north-west link would see a listed farmhouse at the top of the A449 in Claines demolished and cut through waterways, other listed buildings, conservation areas and several landmarks.
Cllr Knight also suggested one solution may be to look at the likes of Norton for taking a new settlement of homes, taking the problem away from Worcester.
Going for that option could lead to money from developers being used to finally fund Norton Parkway train station and other facilities, instead of looking to build more in Worcester.
Other politicians, meanwhile, say they hope Mr Clews accepts the revised figure without calling for yet more increases.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "It is concerning, and it will certainly be challenging.
"It's far better to have a local plan with local control, than have a system where we get 'development on appeal'.
"I know which alternative is the best one out of those two.
"I'm glad the councils are going for the lower end of the range in terms of what's been suggested by the inspector."
Mr Clews will hold a new two-day inspection on March 13 and 14, and if he accepts the figure a fresh consultation will start over where the extra homes will go.
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