July 28, 2022 4.17 pm

“Take A16 roundabout plans to the shredder,” priest tells Lincolnshire council

Plans meant to improve A16 corridor between Boston and Spalding

A priest has told Lincolnshire County Council to “take back the funding, find the shredder, get your act together and come back later,” after planned changes to the A16 roundabout at the entrance to Kirton village.

Hundreds of residents attended a meeting on Wednesday at St Peter and Paul’s Church in Kirton for local community to air their concerns over the authority’s proposals to turn the highway into a fully-signalised crossroads, along widening the length of both A16 approaches.

LCC said the move will improve the A16 corridor between Boston and Spalding – a key route for the agri-food industry.

However, residents fear the changes will lead to safety issues, as well as worsen existing traffic problems along the road, up to and through Boston.

During the meeting, Sam Edwards, head of highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said the plans, one of several A16 schemes funded by £20 million in Levelling Up Funding, would safeguard for future growth and infrastructure, including a planned dual carriageway expansion.

He said the existing roundabout was “not big enough to allow the dual carriageway to be tacked on” to the existing feature.

Residents feared the move would slow the traffic down and cause congestion in the village.

They asked why the money wasn’t being spent on a bypass for Boston and why, if traffic lights would improve the road, why there was a roundabout built at the new Quadrant development.

After more than an hour of questioning, Father Alan Taylor closed the meeting by saying to officers: “take the funds back, find the shredder, get your act together and come back later with a revised plan and a proper consultation”.

Parish council chairman Councillor Peter Watson asked for the council to carry out a full consultation with residents.

However, LCC’s executive portfolio holder for highways, Councillor Richard Davies, said a rule of thumb for such schemes is not “extensive consultation”.

He said the funding was a short-term opportunity and moved to reassure residents that there had been investigatory work carried out which identified the potential pinch-points.

However, he urged residents to contact their county councillors adding: “If the community as a whole feels that this is a really bad idea… and the overwhelming feeling is, if we wanted it isn’t needed, then we will go back to the drawing board.”

However, he said the scheme was not just about Kirton, but the wider A16 and South Lincolnshire route.

He also told residents that the government was not willing to fund a full Boston Bypass, adding : “The reality is the days of £5/600million schemes are over, unless you live in London, unfortunately.

“The way we can deliver things in Lincolnshire… is you have to salami slice it, you have to draw down, you have to negotiate with government and you build up into the bigger schemes… our only option is to do it piecemeal – which has its challenges as well.”

One resident, however, told him to applause: “You say you’re willing to listen to us, well listen to this, we don’t want to remove the roundabout.”

The plans for the A16 at Kirton. | Image: LCC

Following the meeting, Councillor Watson said the gathering showed there had “not been sufficient communication or engagement directly with the public by LCC”.

He called for public consultation on the plans, however, this was not accepted.

“LCC Highways seems to say that the A16 will get a dual carriageway at some point, however with the current bottleneck in Boston with no bypass, all that will achieve is drivers will reach the bottleneck sooner, and be queuing in Boston longer and thus is somewhat pointless.”