Rugby’s Western Relief Road
and a revitalised rail link from the town to Southam are both likely
to get ahead, says Andy King MP.
Some fear that both major
projects could not run in tandem, as they both need an old rail line
that passes through the area.
The Western Relief Road will
bypass Rugby from the Avon Mill in the north, crossing Lawford Road in
the west by the cement plant, to Cawston in the south - using the old
Rugby to Leamington rail line for part of its route.
But with the closure of the
Rugby Cement Plant at Long Itchington/Southam, others want the old
rail line to be reopened for trains to carry material from the Southam
Although the Southam works are
closing, quarrying will continue and clay from the site will need to
be transported to Rugby, via road or rail.
Residents do not want lorries
taking the clay to go via road, because of the noise and road safety
dangers caused by dozens of extra HGVs on the road - three routes have
been outlined to spread the load.
But the rail scheme is more
amibitious and more costly.
The route would use a short
stretch of the old Daventry to Leamington line as far as Offchurch
where trains would join the Leamington to Rugby line on to the cement
Mr King said:
“Back in January it was
true that the rail freight link was dead and buried, but the new
owners of Rugby Cement (RMC) seem to be environmentally-minded. They
are interested in opening the rail line.
“We cannot make people
suffer 45 years of hell with these lorries going through the
villages and the streets of Rugby. I think we are within an inch of
this scheme going ahead, and it need not affect the road plan.
“We are looking at having
both of these schemes running side by side. It is perfectly possible
for this to be a ‘win-win’ situation for Rugby and everyone.
“I am getting very cross
with people who should be supporting the rail option. It has not got
the support it should have done.”
Warwickshire County Council is
all set to start a compulsory purchase order scheme along the old rail
route so it can start on the Western Relief Road. It should ease
traffic along the A4701 Bilton Road and A426 Newbold Road in town,
particularly with hundreds of new homes being built at Cawston..
Shire Hall has given the
cement operators until the end of August to come up with a rail plan.
And if no definite scheme is forthcoming, it looks likely the old rail
line will become a bypass for the town. The plan has been floated
since the 1980s.
Mr King said the line should
be used to reopen the rail line for freight initially, with passenger
services to Leamington in the longer term, and the Western Relief Road
running next to the rail line.
He cannot believe that others
are not supporting plans for both road and rail.
Mr King (Lab, Rugby and
“The latest Government
announcement on transport last week said there would be no new
roads, except for bypass and Western Relief Road is not perfect, but
it is needed for Rugby.
"But there are people
scaremongering and endangering the road for their own aims.