It’s a Christmas miracle! Spalding residents fighting against the demolition of their homes for a new relief road have been given a festive reprieve.
Unexpectedly, members of Lincolnshire County Council’s highways scrutiny committee voted unanimously to recommend a change to the route of the central section of the Spalding Western Relief Road.
The road was originally planned to pass through nine properties on Bourne Road but councillors have asked to pass it through the nearby Trojan Woods at an additional cost of £2.24 million.
Bourne Road Resident Catherine Roberts fought back tears as she petitioned councillors to consider the impact on the lives of nine families, calling the move “immoral and inhumane”.
She promised councillors the residents would “not leave without a fight”.
Mrs Roberts concluded by asking councillors “What do you want for Christmas? All the residents would like is to know that they can enjoy many more Christmases in the comfort of their home in Bourne Road, a place we all wish to remain.”
Councillors on the committee expressed sympathy with the residents.
Councillor Angela Newton, who organised a public meeting in February said: “Option three [the route through the homes] might be slightly cheaper, but officers have not quantified the feelings and mental anxiety that residents have felt.”
Councillor Rodney Grocock added: ”I did not become a councillor to cause distress to people.
“Lincolnshire County Council is putting money before people.”
Councillor Eddie Strengiel called the £2.24 million difference a “drop in the ocean”.
The recommendation will now go before council leaders on the executive committee in January.
Accepting the recommendation, highways portfolio holder Councillor Richard Davies told councillors: ”It’s been a torturous process, my biggest regret is this could have been done quicker.”
He said following the meeting that “it makes quite a lot of sense” and that everything said would be fed into the process going forward.
Mrs Roberts said the residents were “delighted” and “relieved”” to have ‘common sense prevail’.
“We just can’t wait to get back to tell the rest of the residents that we can now relax, enjoy Christmas.
“We accept we’ve got another meeting to come in January, but hopefully they’re going to carry forward with the recommendation of the Trojan Woods so we can all breathe easy, but certainly for us, Christmas is going to be a lot better than we thought it was going to be.”
Stacey Barneveld-Taylor, from the Spalding Against Relief Road group, said the original plans would have devastated people and created blight if they were built.
“Frank and Catherine were given a gift and all the people on Bourne Road that are affected with the potential demolition of their home, they have been given a small gift of a reprieve, and can now actually enjoy the holidays and welcome in the new year with, with a smile on their face and maybe some, some hope,” she said.
She added, however, that campaigners would continue to fight as the route as a whole going forward.
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