May 30, 2019 11.21 am This story is over 54 months old

Fears of 10 years of “crippling traffic” if Spalding bypass phases approved

Campaigners said the plans made traffic worse before it would get better

Angry campaigners say incomplete plans for the Spalding Western Relief Road could make traffic in the town even worse for the next 10 years.

Councillors at South Holland District Council agreed with officer recommendations to offer no objections to the northern and southern sections of the planned £100 million road – instead opting to make several comments to Lincolnshire County Council.

However,  Councillor James Avery, ward councillor for Pinchbeck and Surfleet, called the plans “ill-thought out”.

Visuals for the road design

He, along with objectors from Spalding, Pinchbeck Against the Relief Road (SPARR), said the two sections would create “cul-de-sacs” which would only increase traffic further.

As it stands there is no funding for the Central Section of the SWRR, and Lincolnshire County Council has previously said that section could take another 10 years to be built.

“Funding for the entire relief road should be secured at this stage, not left to some point in the future,” said Councillor Avery.

South Holland District Council’s planning committee. Photo: Daniel Jaines

“This is the wrong solution, it’s the wrong location. There’s a big disconnect in funding and a lot of hope,” he added, fearing traffic issues would not be solved “until a fully-joined up relief road is put together”.

Planning officers reassured the committee that planned roundabouts would help ease the traffic, however campaigners were unconvinced – especially considering the number of houses planned for the road in the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.

This was something chairman Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones was keen to keep separate to the road plans as they will form their own planning applications before SHDC.

SPARR campaigner Stacey Barneveld-Taylor. Photo: Daniel Jaines

However, following the decision, SPARR campaigner Stacey Barneveld-Taylor accused Councillor Gammba-Jones of white-washing the connection, particularly when much of the funding for the road could come from the developers contributions from thousands of planned houses along the route.

Mrs Barneveld-Taylor, whose home will face one of the ramps onto bridges along the relief road, said: “The exponential gridlock-crippling traffic that is going to occur […] is going to be ugly.

“As wonderful as the roundabout is […] at the end of the day it’s going to dump 500 or a thousand people onto a two-lane road that is already crippled as we speak today.”

Mrs Barnaveld-Taylor addresses the committee. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Criticisms were also levelled at a lack of consultation, the location of acoustic barriers, landscaping maintenance and recreational amenity.

The relief road, built around the west side of the town, will link Spalding common in the south with Spalding Road/Pinchbeck Road in the north.

The central section of the project caused controversy back in February when the county council was forced to apologise for failing to notify residents who live in direct route of the road.

People said they had been “left in limbo” by the project, while one resident said the council would have to “tow him out with a chain and a bulldozer” if plans go ahead.

The council later revealed it was looking at alternative routes to be decided at the end of summer.

Catherine and Frank Roberts outside their forever home on Bourne Road. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Following the meeting Catherine Roberts, one of those who faces losing their home said the decision was disappointing but they had felt it was a foregone conclusion.

She said: “With definite plans for the north and south, that means the central section has to go through Bourne Road somewhere – it was said there were six alternatives but I can’t quite work out where they come from. It is more worrying now, we seem under the cosh.

“It’s starting to reflect on people’s health now, people are saying they’re very, very stressed and not sleeping and even though we’re told its going to be the end of summer that’s an undefinable period.

“We carry on protesting and trying to get the petition together to prevent LCC before our own decision comes before them so we just keep trying to protest and hope they will realise it’s people’s homes they will want to demolish.”

The council is hoping to break ground on the northern section this winter and the southern part during Spring 2022.

SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.