Villagers who fought against plans to build a bypass close to their homes were celebrating yesterday after being told the route of the road was going to be changed.
Proposals for a bypass round Brownhills in Walsall led to a campaign by villagers living in Stonnall, amid fears the road would ruin the quiet community.
Walsall Borough Council said the road was needed to ease congestion and, working with Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire County Council, said it would run from the A5 in Brownhills, through green belt land in Lichfield, and link up with the A452
Chester Road. Local residents who formed a pressure group - Stonnall Campaign Against Roads (Scar) - and organised walks along the proposed route, held talks to raise awareness, and collected thousands of signatures for a petition.
Yesterday a joint statement issued by Walsall Borough Council and Lichfield District Council announced that the plans for the bypass were under review, with both councils looking for an alternative route to take it further away from Stonnall.
In the statement, Coun Tom Ansell, leader of Walsall Council, said: "Because of the considerable concern of Stonnall residents, I felt it was in the public interest to clarify Walsall's position at the earliest possible stage. We are working with our engineering consultants to explore alternative routes now that it has become obvious that the Stonnall route is one we no longer wish to pursue."
Coun David Smith, leader of Lichfield Council, said: "We all fully support the need for the regeneration of Brownhills and welcome the high level of co-operation we have had with Walsall Council.
"When the new route is finalised we believe it will provide both much-needed relief to Brownhills High Street and improved access to the Chester Road, preventing the need for rat runs through Stonnall."
Phil Whitehouse, chairman of Scar, said: "In February 2005, Stonnall people had been horrified by the news that Walsall Council planned to build a bypass in the greenbelt near their village as part of plans to regenerate Brownhills Town Centre.
"Scar has previously said they support the plans to regenerate Brownhills but could not support the route of the Brownhills Eastern Bypass element and asked Walsall Council to investigate other cost-effective options.
"Although it is great news to hear that Walsall Council has now officially abandoned the proposed route to the north west of Stonnall village, they have not as yet declared their exact intentions for an alternative route and so Scar will be seeking clarification from them. It is really pleasing that, through the Scar group, the councils concerned have listened to the wishes of the people of the area and it shows what can be done when people pull together for a common cause.
"Due to the complexity of this situation and the inter-weaving land boundaries concerned, Scar firmly believe that the three councils should proactively work together and involve local people to agree a way forward."
A village meeting has been arranged for residents to hear the latest news about the proposed bypass from local councillors and Scar.
The meeting will be held at Stonnall Community Hall on Thursday at 7.30pm.