COUNCILLORS will be asked on Monday to approve the controversial “Red Route” for Warrington’s Waterfront Western Link road scheme – the cost of which has now risen to £212.74 million.
Members of the borough council’s executive board will also be asked to approve an allocation of £2.7 million to enable work on the project to continue until next May when the government is expect to announce its decision on Warrington’s bid for £142.54 million funding from the Department for Transport.
The council will itself borrow £70.20 million – incurring interest of £43.18 million over the next 40 years.
But first councillors will have to run the gauntlet of campaigners opposed to the scheme who are planning a mass demonstration outside the Town Hall.
The campaigners are hoping to exceed the 500 who turned out at a previous demonstration last month.
The new road will link Walton and Great Sankey and is intended to ease traffic congestion at Bridge Foot
It is also seen as being integral to the council’s Preferred Development Option, which envisages construction of 25,000 new houses being built over the next 20 years – almost 10,000 of them on Green Belt land.
Councillors will also be asked to approve allocating £9.6 million to settle claims from land and property owners affected by the scheme and to authorise council officers to commence negotiations to try and reach agreement over the claims.
Compulsory purchase would only be used as a last resort.
If the council’s bid for Department for Transport funding as a Large Local Major scheme is unsuccessful, the DfT has indicated it would immediately become eligible to bid for wider funding after 2020.
More than 1,200 people have signed a petition opposing the Western Link scheme and the petition can be accessed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/201008