Approval for the Lincoln East West Link Road is one step closer after Lincolnshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee on Monday approved the planning application and provided their support for the Conservation Area Consent proposal.
The Conservation Area Consent application will now be sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, who will assess the application and his decision will be known within eight weeks.
If the Secretary of State approves the application, the Planning and Regulation Committee will give their full approval to the planning application, enabling progress to be made towards construction.
If approved, construction will take two years and could start in 2014.
The Lincoln East West Link Road aims to help traffic avoid the High Street level crossing by linking up to Pelham Bridge more clearly.
To do this, the first phase of the plans involves extending and widening Tentercroft Street, with additional lanes added for buses travelling along the High Street trying to get to the city centre.
A number of new pedestrian crossings will be put in place along the stretch of road alongside cycle paths.
The second phase will see High Street between the level crossing and St Mark’s junction pedestrianised, to stop traffic queuing altogether.
However, in order to develop the wider roads and slip roads onto the bridge, a number of buildings will be demolished.
Quantum House, 11-13 Tentercroft Street, two Portland Street houses, The Regency Club, four industrial units, two garages and two other office premises will be demolished for the road.
Quantum House and 11-13 Tentercroft Street will be rebuilt once work on the St Mark’s junction is finished though, and will look exactly the same as previous.
The plans initially caused opposition from English Heritage, which believes that while this might have a positive short-term effect on traffic in Lincoln, in the long run it could damage the conservation area in place around the city centre.
Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, Councillor William Webb, said: “With barriers set to be down even longer in the not too distant future at the level crossings, this new road means motorists can get across the city much more easily.
“It will open up the former coal yard, offering opportunities for economic growth and regeneration and people can enjoy shopping in a much more open space, as the southern part of the High Street will be fully pedestrianised.
“Local buses and cyclists will have priority routes, which hopefully will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and travel in a more environmentally-friendly way.
“We will look to start construction of the new road at the earliest opportunity, hopefully as soon as 2014, for the benefit of all those coming into the city centre, whatever their method of transport.”