Relief Road starts this spring


Construction of the Northfield Relief Road is starting in March. For over 30 years, successive governments failed to find any money for the scheme. But thanks to over £15m provided for Northfield by the Labour Government, the City Council can go ahead with both the road and other improvements to the central Northfield shopping area.

I have worked hard for this result since I was first elected to represent Northfield. Although Northfield had an elected a Labour MP at that time, there was a Conservative Government in power and they did not come up with any money.

A new start came with the election of a Labour government.  In 2000, over £8m of government money was earmarked for a 5-6 year project.  This allowed the City Council to finalise the design, hold a public enquiry, purchase properties along the route and undertake other work to allow construction to start this year.

Even though the City Council’s cost estimates went up, the government has kept faith with local people.  In December, it increased its contribution to over £15m.  The City Council’s agreed to put in an extra £1.5m. Construction should be completed in early 2007

Just like the big changes that have taken place in Birmingham City Centre, a project of the scale of the Northfield Relief Road inevitably takes years to plan and to complete.  But the Labour Government made a commitment to local people and construction is starting this year – on schedule.

Whilst the road is being built there will inevitably be a lot of disruption. There are also bound to be problems which come up in the course of the project. It is vital that we continue to involve local people and listen to what they say.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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