Residents of the Reepham and Cherry Willingham areas of Lincoln turned out in large numbers in order to raise concerns about the Lincoln Eastern Bypass cutting of a vital village road.
In a meeting at the Reepham and Cherry Willingham Village Hall on January 10, around 200 local residents argued that revised plans were not well publicised and posed a threat to public right of way, emergency response times and their daily commute.
The plans, which originally proposed a dual-carriageway in 2005, were downgraded in 2010 due to cutbacks in funding.
As a result, a £96m single-carriageway scheme was identified as the best solution.
However as previously reported, the new plans sparked a campaign by villagers, who would see a primary village route Hawthorn Road ‘stopped off’ permanently.
Lincolnshire County Council submitted an application for a 3m wide footbridge for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in response to feedback from residents.
Among heated questions at the public meeting, a member of staff from a local school, who is also a resident, said: “I am appalled at how most of us have been treated. It’s as if our little villages don’t matter.
“Of the village schools, approximately 300 pupils travel along Hawthorn Road to get to and from school every day. Proposing that they just walk or cycle is not acceptable.
“As a school we are very concerned that blocking off Hawthorn Road will be like blocking off one of our main arteries.
“Attendance and lateness is something which is taken very seriously and reflects badly on the school’s performance, which I think is grossly unfair.”
A Cherry Willingham resident added: “These children are not all going to cycle to school, there are only about two from Cherry Willingham Primary who do so currently.
“This proposal will increase to chance of an accident with some families taking the route two to four times a day.
“I believe children on the Carlton estate are being cut off and left high and dry.”
Need for bypass
Head of Highways North at Lincolnshire County Council, Alan Aistrup, said: “The purpose of the planning application for the non-motorised user bridge is aimed to provide right of way to former users of Hawthorn Road, which will be closed.
“The route for those driving in will be via Bunkers Hill, onto the bypass.
“There is no doubt that, with any scheme, there will be some disadvantages to some and advantages to others, and this has to be taken on balance.
“The scheme takes 20,000 plus vehicles taken out of the city and from Bunkers Hill and transfers them onto the bypass. The flow of traffic will be reduced.”
Andy Gutherson, Head of Planning Services for Lincolnshire County Council, told villagers: “If we don’t get this scheme through, we will not see the Lincoln Eastern Bypass through in most of our lifetimes.”