A NORTHERN link road will not be built around the top of Worcester due to fears it would turn the city into a commuter settlement.

Stephen Harrison, the head of integrated passenger transport at County Hall, told city councillors this week that the Government would be unlikely to fund such a road – estimated to cost about £100 million – as his computer modelling showed it would have a negative impact on the city as a whole. The road would link Dines Green to Barbourne.

Worcestershire County Council put in a £187 million bid to Government last month for all the transport projects it wants up to 2016 – and a northern bypass did not make the list.

“A northwest link road has been tested on our computer model,” Mr Harrison said.

“It led to a marked deterioration of the economic efficiency of the transport model in Worcester as a whole.

“That means it’s more difficult to gain the money to build the infrastructure.”

He added that it would not necessarily be desirable to make west Worcester (St John’s and Dines Green) better connected to the M5.

“The western side of Worcester is a very self-contained part of the city,” he said. “Building a northwest link road would actually make that area more of a dormitory for the West Midlands area.”

His words echoed a recent study into housing in south Worcestershire, which suggested future developments should be built to the west of the city to prevent them being snapped up by commuters working in Birmingham and Bristol.

But some members of the city’s planning committee were unconvinced.

Cabinet member for finance Roger Knight said: “It’s so logical that we need to complete the ring road. These computer surveys are all very well, but from any realistic point of view we need that road.”

Cabinet member for cleaner and greener Allah Ditta said that without a complete ring road, problems on the M5 nearby would continue to bring Worcester to a standstill.

But Mr Morrison insisted that “you cannot plan transport policy based around a possible emergency on the motorway.”

And his transport plan for Worcester – which involves the duelling of the southern link road, a second city centre bridge and new rail stops and bus services – was praised by other members of the committee.

“I support this highways strategy,” said Liberal Democrat leader Sue Askin.

“A northern link road would encourage commuting.

“I appreciate that lots of people in the northwest of the city will want that road but in order to encourage employment within this city, we have to limit the opportunities for commuting.”