A COUNCILLOR says the proposed Western Link bypass ‘seems to have been relegated’ as question marks continue to be raised over whether it will be built.

It was highlighted at the full council meeting on Monday, where the Local Plan was adopted following a vote.

The route has been planned to connect the A56 Chester Road with the A57 Sankey Way in Great Sankey.

It had been estimated to cost around £212.7 million.

The Government has previously confirmed, in principle, it will put £142.5 million towards the controversial scheme, with the council planning to contribute £70.2 million.

But, as reported in October 2022, the council said the latest cost estimate it had supplied to the Department for Transport amounted to around £269 million – an increase of more than £56 million.

The Local Plan aims to deliver the homes, jobs, supporting infrastructure and community facilities the borough needs.

During the full council meeting, Cllr Nigel Balding, Conservative, highlighted that in the draft Local Plan the Western Link was described as ‘fundamental’ to the plan, but stated in the latest plan the Western Link ‘seems to have been relegated’, with costs going ‘up and up’.

But Labour’s Cllr Hitesh Patel, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said the council is ‘committed to still developing the Western Link’.

“It was always on the basis that there would be funding from the Government, and if that funding comes forward then we can develop that scheme,” he said.

The Western Link has been planned to tackle congestion and unlock key development land.

In June, a council spokesman said: “Due to inflationary pressures which are particularly severe and are having a major impact in increasing prices for all major highway infrastructure schemes, the cost of the Western Link scheme has increased from the original estimate of £212.7m up to £269m as of late 2022.

“These cost increases are an issue for all schemes across the country and we are in discussions with the Department for Transport regarding these and funding options. We intend to provide an update on progress in due course.

“As it stands we are unable to confirm revised dates for the delivery of the scheme, which has been delayed as a result of the issues above. An update will be provided once a revised programme has been confirmed.”