Protest at A1073 delay to go to Westminster

A COUNCIL annoyed at the delay in building a replacement route for the notorious A1073 is to voice its concerns to the Government.

A change introduced in July in the way major road schemes are funded has meant the outcome of a public inquiry into the A1073 Spalding to Eye improve-ment will not be known until at least mid-2006.

But at a full meeting of South Holland District Council on Wednesday councillors agreed to write to Westminster to register its complaints.

Coun Paul Walls said: "I cannot think there's a single member who disagrees that the council should adopt a pro-active stance because we have to try and make the best of the deal that is on the table.

"The council could compose a letter to protest about the capricious way the Government keeps changing the arrangements."

The outcome of the public inquiry into the A1073 was delayed by up to a year in August after the Secretary of State for Transport announced he was unsure about funding for the scheme.

The 44.6m project is now due to be determined by the regional transport board which has been asked to advise the Government on its priorities for major transport schemes by January.

The delay has prompted Lincolnshire County Council to ask authorities across the county to present a united front over construction of major road schemes.

South Holland District Council members backed the county council's request that priority be given to schemes which already have full or provisional acceptance.

That would include the A1073 improvement, which the county council wants to see in place in 2006-2007 because of the positive effect it would have on south Lincolnshire's food industry.

Coun Bryan Alcock said: "The object here is to get Lincolnshire speaking with a single voice and get the new A1073 built.

"It sickens me that it has got to this stage. We know that the road is desperately wanted for economic and safety reasons yet we are in a situation where funding will be allocated by a quango of not-even-elected people using a process they haven't yet agreed on. One despairs over how long this will go on.

"We as a council should be making the most noise we possibly can to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and our MP and urge them to sort this mess out."

Coun Chris Brewis agreed. He said: "I think that we need to work with Peterborough Unitary Authority and the MP so as many people as possible are aware of this.

"We should play a pro-active role in drawing people to the problem."