Local Democracy

Works to rebuild a sinkhole-plagued road in Holbeach have been hit by further delays.

Announcing three weeks of “extensive” rebuilding works on Boston Road South last week, Lincolnshire County Council had said it expected Anglian Water to be finished by today (Friday, July 1).

However, this morning a spokesperson for the water company confirmed they would need another week.

“Due to the complex nature of putting the lining into the sewer this won’t be completed until the end of next week,” said Anglian Water’s spokesperson.

“We have been in contact with the council to keep them updated on this.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s work includes a full, two-phase, reconstruction of the site – removing any affected substrate and replacing it with a multi-layered material build around the asset that bosses said “will shore-up the area and return it to normal use”.

The sink hole repairs on Boston Road South have been going on for a number of years. | Image: Daniel Jaines

The first part will take care of the sub-layer of the road and the second part of the rebuild plan will deliver the road surface and markings.

The road will remain closed until the works are completed. However, work cannot begin until Anglian Water is done.

Neighbours recently described the last few years as a “nightmare” and “farcical”. Despite several repair attempts the road continues to cause issues.

Ken Coates and other residents said the works had been a “nightmare”. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Lincolnshire County Council said they are “frustrated” by the latest news but the authority has been carrying out other works in the meantime. 

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways said: “It’s unfortunate and frustrating that we can’t get the rebuild underway as planned, but the timing for works such as Anglian Water are undertaking can be lengthened through all sorts of factors.

v“We will get on with the rebuild of the road as soon as possible.

“We, like all of the residents and businesses affected by this, are very keen to return Boston Road South to normal as quickly as we can.

“I would like to thank local residents and businesses for their continued patience as the various elements of this set of works continue.”

An allegedly highly critical report about South Kesteven District Council will remain “secret” for another two months – taking it over a year since it was first received, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.

The request, made by Phil Gadd on May 31, asked when the report – which was commissioned to review how decisions and scrutiny at the council worked –  would be presented to the public.

The SKDC-commissioned review was carried out by the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny which was by an independent auditor. The request also confirmed the review cost £5,520 to produce.

In his request, Mr Gadd said: “The people of SKDC were promised open, honest & transparent governance.

“However, months later we are still denied the opportunity to see the results.”

SKDC’s response said “the final report will be published over the next couple of months, together with an action plan.”

It promised the document would be published “in its entirety with no redactions”.

“Work has been taking place to consider the recommendations contained within the review and develop an action plan for implementing areas recommended for improvement,” the authority added.

The report, received on August 31, 2021, was previously questioned by Independent Councillors Ashley Baxter and Phil Dilks in April after nearly nine months of being hidden.

If the FOI is correct, it could take the length of time since the report was received to over a year.

At the time, Councillor Baxter said: “Taxpayers deserve openness and transparency.

“That’s why I wanted to share the secret report with the press and public but was warned not to by the council’s monitoring officer.”

He said the report made “some positive comments” but added it “also highlights massive gaps”.

It is understood Councillor Baxter is continuing with his enquries following the latest request.

SKDC was asked for additional comment but a spokesman said it had “nothing to add to this”.

Councils in Lincolnshire are looking to set up a crowdfunding scheme to help raise money for local projects and community-based initiatives.

Boston Borough, East Lindsey and South Holland District Council, as the South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, will invest an initial combined £34,000 into setting up the scheme with Spacehive.

If approved Boston and ELDC would contribute a further £30,000 to match-fund healthy community-based projects in their respective district. It is not yet clear if SHDC would do the same.

Boston’s cabinet and ELDC’s executive board will both discuss the plans at meetings next week, while SHDC’s own cabinet will vote later this month.

Reports before ELDC and Boston said: “Civic crowdfunding is becoming increasing popular due the numerous economic and social benefits it can deliver.

“Many local authorities across England have successfully used crowdfunding platforms to engage with local residents and businesses to develop projects and seek financial support group on-line pledges to match local authority contributions.”

They said crowdfunding in other areas showed a 250-300% return on investment for the community.

As part of the initiative the partnership would set up a Spacehive page later this year listing what funds are available and how much they are willing to match-fund.

Those organising community-based initiatives and proposals would set up their own project pages separately, including a breakdown of their budgets and targets.

Spacehive would verify the bids to ensure clear budgets and permissions are in place.

The projects could then pitch to the council, and other organisations such as the National Lottery, through the site. Projects can also be backed by general members of the public.

Authorities will monitor the project’s progress before making a decision.

More than 40 local authorities use Spacehive, including Cotswolds District Council.

A recently-100% funded project included a £21,997 amphitheatre in Chipping Campden, which the council gave £10,000.

For more information visit SpaceHive

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