Julian grew up in Bridgnorth and returned to Shropshire in 2000 after 20 years in London. He has lived in Shrewsbury since 2006. His first career was in local government housing. Since 1990 he has been in teaching, and currently teaches part-time vocational music and related subjects in the Further Education sector, where he is also a Trade Union representative. In addition he works for an exams board and promotes music in the local area. He has one son who attended Shrewsbury Sixth Form College.
Julian joined the Green Party in 2015, inspired by the principled stand on a range of issues taken by Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas during the general election. Since then he has also been actively involved with the local campaign to defend Shropshire NHS services.
Hello, I'd like to talk to you about the North West Relief Road. I'll try and keep this to two minutes. The argument for the road is that it will lead to a reduction in traffic and that it will lead to economic growth.
On the reduction in traffic, the claim is a 30% reduction in the use of the Smithfield Road, the one along the side of the river. This is dodgy. The research is old, the new research that's taking place this Summer was all done whilst all that work was going on on the various roundabouts in town, so we don't know what the effect of those will be and research that's done, looking at road schemes pretty much everywhere else in the country suggests that once you build a new road, it fills up and any relief on other roads is quickly lost. So, it doesn't seem to me a likely case. Actually, if you think about the journeys, most of the journeys are internal to the town. Please who go round the town can already do that and already do do that on the South-East route. So the question is will people divert their inside town journeys. That seems to me unlikely and if they do, unfortunately other people will use the road instead.
Economic growth. Okay, so the argument is that this will lead to more economic activity. Do we want more economic activity based on more car use. That's not the sort of economic growth that makes much sense given the state of the world. So that seems to me to be an argument that we need to reject.
Which then leads to the question of the cost of the road. The road is estimated to cost £104 million. The Council will have to pay 20%-ish of that, £21 million, but also any excess. If the costs go over, then it will be down to the Council to pay that. So that's a bit of an open-ended commitment, in particular at a time when the Council has a huge deficit of £36 million. So I don't think it's a good way to spend Shropshire's money and we are talking about the whole of Shropshire here.
Finally, there's the environmental impact of the road. So this road will go through the old riverbed and will go through some really important natural habitats and a really important green wedge that comes into the heart of Shrewsbury. So I think that the impact would be devastating and not good for the town. So, there you go, that's my case against the road. Two minutes 22.