WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS
Rugby Relief Road:
Back To The Drawing Board
By ARRYN BUGGINS
A new route will have
to be picked for the Rugby Western Relief Road, now that the former
railway track is likely to reopen to freight trains.
surrounded the route for a new road around the town, which was set to
have used part of the former Rugby to Leamington rail line.
But Rugby Cement (now
says it wants to reopen the line. It provides a link between its
plants at Lawford Road in Rugby and the Southam works at Long
The county council
had been expecting to make use of some of the old line for a bypass
running from the A4071 at Cawston, crossing the A428 by the cement
works carrying on to the A426-B4112 Avon Mill roundabout at Newbold.
But the rail link and
relief road cannot both use the same stretch - only one can succeed
and the balance has tipped in favour of the rail line again. That
leaves the county council with no route for its road, sending
engineers back to the drawing board.
Warwickshire’s director of planning, transport and economic
“Rugby Cement has
now decided that they will promote reopening of the railway through
the necessary statutory procedures and through a grant application
to the DETR.
“This will take
some time, probably more than a year and until these processes are
complete Rugby Cement will not be able to begin implementation of
their proposal to reopen the railway. They have, however,
demonstrated a strong commitment to the project.
“In order to
remove the uncertainty that has affected the relief road and to
facilitate reopening of the railway, it is now recommended that a
new alignment be adopted for the relief road that does not prejudice
the reopening of the railway.”
The northern section
of the road from the cement works to the Avon Mill roundabout was set
to have been built first, as it had little impact on the rail line.
And the southern
section from the cement works to Cawston had been planned to follow on
later, as there were complications caused by the on-off plans for the
reopening of the rail line.
It is likely that the
new road will now run alongside the rail corridor, although this will
be in Green Belt land.
This option has long
been heralded by Andy King MP. He wants both the road and rail link to
complication means a further delay to the road scheme that has been
floated since the 1980s. It is likely to take another 12 months for
revised planning permission, to be followed by a public inquiry,
leading to a start in 2004.
If there is no
inquiry, work could start early in 2003, so even the most optimistic
option means there will be no work for at least two years. It is now
likely the road will be built in one effort.
Mr Deegan said:
the northern section alone would impose additional traffic on some
existing roads, especially Addison Road and Lawford Heath Lane.
balance this was felt to be acceptable when construction of the
southern section was so uncertain it is now felt that it is better
to wait until the whole road can be constructed together.”
He said there will be
a ‘substantial increase’ in the cost of the road scheme with the
It was thought that
private developers building homes at Cawston would foot the whole cost
of the scheme under the old plan.
It is likely the
extra money will have to come from Government grants. The county
council understands this money will be forthcoming as the Government
Office for the West Midlands (GOWM) supports the rail reopening and
will look favourably on the road scheme which is being displaced from
the rail line.
It is likely to even
see the road scheme extended further south towards the A45 at Potsford
Dam - an idea that was abandoned some years ago because of cost.
Rugby Cement has
closed its Southam works, but still needs to transport aggregate to
the Rugby works. The company had planned to use three lorry routes
between the plants to try and spread the load and lessen the impact.
Rugby’s MP had been
pushing them to reopen the rail link – closed in the 1980s – which
would keep the roads free of heavy traffic and bring the old line back
Freight trains would
head south-west from Rugby on the former Leamington line to Offchurch,
then turn east on the old Daventry line as far as Southam.
Both these lines
closed to passengers in the 1960s, but were kept in use for freight
for about another 20 years. They now stand empty, and mainly used for
Mr King hopes
eventually the whole stretch to Leamington could be reopened for
passenger traffic, and even further ahead could lead to the reopening
of village rail stations that closed nearly 40 years ago.
[25 JUL 00] RUGBY CAN HAVE NEW ROAD AND RAIL
LINK SAYS MP