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Defiant Spalding resident: 'They can tow me out with a chain and bulldozer if they like'

People remain in limbo following a public meeting on the route of the middle section of Spalding Western Relief Road.

Bourne Road residents want to know how long they must live with the threat of their homes being demolished - how long house sales will be stalled and, for some, what happens if they're left next to a busy road.

Bourne Road resident Richard Holland at Wednesday's public meeting. (200219-28)
Bourne Road resident Richard Holland at Wednesday's public meeting. (200219-28)

Yellow (western) and purple (eastern) routes intersecting Bourne Road are drawn on a map.

The yellow route ...
The yellow route ...

Some residents believe the purple route, which runs closer to the built edge of Spalding, will never be built because a secondary school - mentioned in the new local plan - will be nearby.

The purple route ...
The purple route ...

Widower Don Churchman (85), Richard Holland and Catherine and Frank Roberts are among home owners living on top of the yellow route.

Don Churchman (85) says he couldn't stand moving out at his age. (200219-27)
Don Churchman (85) says he couldn't stand moving out at his age. (200219-27)

Reassurance from the county council that the middle section could be "a decade away" isn't lessening their worries.

Don says it will "kill" him if he has to move out.

After the public meeting, he said: "I'm distraught. I'm in my 80s. I don't need this aggravation at my age."

Catherine has had sleepless nights and shed tears since learning her "forever home" is threatened.

Worried ...Catherine Roberts (right) with husband Frank. (200219-10)
Worried ...Catherine Roberts (right) with husband Frank. (200219-10)

She says the only positive from the meeting was knowing a decision on the route could be made within a year.

A defiant Richard said: "I'm stopping where I am - they can tow me out with a chain and a bulldozer for all I care."

* In a statement last week, Coun Richard Davies, the county's executive member for highways, said the allotment route was dropped because "as things progressed it became apparent that this wasn't going to work from an engineering point of view".

But the Free Press asked him to explain as the project already includes major pieces of engineering with vehicle bridges over the railway.

He said: "The reason the initial route through the allotments was originally discounted is because it became evident that, with a road this size, there would have been too much of a noise and visual impact on homes to the west of Spalding.

"Also, access to new developments in and around Spalding would be very limited due to this alignment's close proximity to town."

Coun Davies now says the council will review all options, adding: "This includes revisiting older alignments, like the one through the allotments just west of Spalding."

Catherine, Frank and Richard were among residents hoping that protected species - water voles and grass snakes - living at the bottom of their gardens would force a council U-turn.

But the council says it can legally move the creatures.

Coun Davies said: "Ahead of any construction works, we'll carry out an extensive survey of the ecology of the area to ensure as little disruption as possible is caused to wildlife.

"At this early stage, there is no detail on what this might involve or cost."

* What do you think? Email your view to our editior, jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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