A new £102 million relief road project in Grantham would take traffic out of the town centre, improve air quality and create opportunities for walking and cycling, an inquiry has heard this morning.
Government planning inspector Martin Whitehead led the inquiry at the town’s Jubilee Church Life Centre, today (Wednesday) – despite all objections having been withdrawn at the end of 2018.
Barrister Simon Randle, who represented LCC, Highways England and the Department for Transport told the inquiry “the benefits are clear, and without this that will not be achieved.”
“Following objections being made, the council has made great efforts to meet with and resolve the matters raised by the objectors,” Mr Randle said.
“The result is there are no remaining objectors – statutory or otherwise,” he added.
Alen Chanamuto, senior project leader with LCC, told the inquiry: “Without the scheme, the district and county councils ambitions for Grantham cannot be achieved as the current infrastructure in place is insufficient to sustain the planned growth.”
Further experts described benefits to the quality of life for Grantham residents, workers and shoppers by improving the air quality and creating opportunities for healthier lifestyles as well as a reduction in the number of traffic accidents over the next 60 years.
The project will join the B1174 to the A1 via a grade-separated junction.
The relief road will link the A52 at Somerby Hill to the A1, which should reduce congestion in Grantham town centre.
Originally priced at around £81 million, the cost is now estimated to be around £102 million – with £33 million of grant funding already secured.
However, the initial date for the inquiry at the beginning of December, had to be delayed by Mr Whitehead after an “administrative error” which left no notices listed along the route.
Shortly after, Lincolnshire County Council announced it had concluded discussions with objectors which saw Western Power and Zurich remove their final objections.
Executive councillor for highways at LCC Richard Davies called the delays a “c**k-up” but hailed the withdrawal as “great news”.
The objections to the legal orders had included:
- Network Rail – affected land, width size of the easement, details of CPO, access rights to new access track and potential additional easements
- Zurich – justification and use of compulsory purchase order
- Western Power Distribution – protection of interests in vicinity of the scheme
- Grantham Motor Company – site access, position of transporter layby and stopping up proposal
It is hoped the project will begin in the summer.