Green light for West Midlands link road works to 'unlock' business site

Plans have been approved for works to assist in the delivery of a new link road on the border between two West Midlands council areas, after planners advised that the scheme would 'unlock' an employment area for future development and provide wider regeneration opportunities.

Newcastle-under-Lyme. Image: Flickr / John McLinden
Newcastle-under-Lyme. Image: Flickr / John McLinden

The Etruria Valley Link Road project is located largely within the boundaries of the City of Stoke-on-Trent Council but requires a series of works in neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Once built, the road would link Stoke-on-Trent city centre with the A500 and the Etruria Valley Enterprise Area.

Full planning permission was granted by Newcastle-under-Lyme earlier this week for works including the enlargement of two double roundabouts, provision of a shared footpath and cycleway around and between the roundabouts, construction of a mini-roundabout, relocation of pedestrian crossings, and the redevelopment of a former coal yard to provide an ecological habitat.

City of Stoke-on-Trent Council was behind the application and is due to consider the elements of the project within its authority boundary at a planning committee meeting on 21 August.

Newcastle-under-Lyme officers recommended approval and advised that the link road project is planned for in a joint core strategy adopted by the two authorities in 2009.

Addressing the loss of employment land at the former coal yard site, officers said this "would be more than offset by the significant employment development potential in Etruria Valley".

Officers described the loss of mature trees as "regrettable but unavoidable" and said: "The creation of the ecological habitat on the former coal yard site will, to some extent, mitigate any loss of landscaping."

Overall, they advised: "This is a strategically significant highway proposal which is in accordance with the development plan and regeneration strategies for the area." They added that the road "would unlock the Etruria Valley Enterprise Area for future development opportunities and regeneration in the local region".

Following the adoption of the core strategy, Newcastle-under-Lyme and the City of Stoke-on-Trent are working on a new joint local plan. In October 2018, the two authorities said they were pausing work due to uncertainty over the methodology of the government’s standard method for assessing housing need. 

On Wednesday, Planning reported that a new administration at a West Midlands authority has decided to review plans for a major bypass partly over climate change concerns, despite warnings from officers that the move risks the proposed delivery of more than 3,000 new homes.

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