South Holland District Council votes in favour of £1million contribution towards northern section of relief road
South Holland taxpayers will make a £1million commitment towards the cost of building a section of the Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR).
As part of the estimated £50million cost of building two roads, including a northern section to link the B1356 Spalding Road to a planned 4,000-home development in the Vernatts Drain area, in Pinchbeck, district councillors agreed on Wednesday to contribute the seven-figure sum towards the total cost of construction.
But the schemes, to also include a southern section between the B1172 Spalding Common and the 2,250-home Holland Park residential development, off Broadway, Spalding, raised several questions about the work to be done by Lincolnshire County Council’s highways department and the likelihood of recovering the £1million from developers.
During Wednesday’s meeting of 33 of the district council’s 37 members, Crowland ward councillor Bryan Alcock asked: “Where does it leave us if the county council doesn’t carry out the obligations we expect it to?”
Coun Alcock also described the forecasted cost of £27.6million for the northern section as “wishful thinking”, adding: “It’s rare to see the guess-timates reducing in the future”.
Paul Jackson, the district council’s executive programme manager (housing and infrastructure delivery), said: “The council council has to carry out the work to fulfil the standards of Highways England.
“If it does, then the county council will get the £12million funding from the Government’s Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HiF) headline costs of section five will reduce on the basis of the county council’s estimates and if the whole scheme comes in under the estimated costs, with HiF money left over, it will be recycled into building SWRR’s central sections.
“Ultimately, this council will be determining the planning applications for the houses and it will be this council’s choice to enter into legal agreements with the developers to recoup its money.”
Coun Nick Worth, the district council’s deputy leader, explained that it would be bound by a legal agreement with Homes England, the central government body responsible for HiF, along with the county council to meet the overall cost of both sections one and five.
“There are no unusual or onerous risks for South Holland District Council in entering into an agreement with Homes England,” Coun Worth said.
Meanwhile, one of the leaders behind a campaign to derail the £100million Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR) scheme admitted that a decision to support it was “no surprise”.
Stacy Barneveld-Taylor, a co-founder of SPARR (Spalding Pinchbeck Against Relief Road), was among 20 people who travelled to Lincoln last Monday for a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council’s (LCC) planning and regulation committee.
Members voted 9-0 in favour of giving the go ahead to SWRR’S southern section between Spalding Common and the under-construction Holland Park housing development.
In contrast, Spalding West ward county councillor Angela Newton voted against plans to build the northern section linking Spalding Road, Pinchbeck, and a proposed housing development in the Vernatts Drain area.
After the planning meeting, Ms Barneveld-Taylor said: “It was no surprise that members of LCC’s planning and regulation committee voted to pass both applications regarding SWRR sections one and five as this was anticipated.
“What was very disappointing was the complete lack of engagement by the committee members in creating dialogue or asking questions after the public comments by SPARR member Simon Holmes, in reference to section one, as well as Pinchbeck parish and district councillor James Avery regarding section five.
“Given the high-profile and controversial nature of SWRR, all that was heard in the council chamber was silence.
“The disconnect between county and district councillors with the SWRR plans is frustrating for our residents as both sections will just be access roads onto two housing estates for the foreseeable and very distant future.”
SPARR members now plan to send their objections to new Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, asking him to review the plans.
Ms Barneveld-Taylor said: “We will also be writing to our own MP, Sir John Hayes, in continuing to send our message for the applications to be ‘called in’”.
. A decision to support plans for two sections of the Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR) was a snub for two Pinchbeck representatives who oppose it.
Members of Lincolnshire County Council’s planning and regulation committee heard objections from two of Pinchbeck’s three district councillors, James Avery and Elizabeth Sneath whose Spalding Elloe county council ward includes the village.
In a statement to the committee, Coun Sneath said: “The application for the Pinchbeck end (section five) of this so-called ‘relief road’ will blight the lives of residents in all the villages along this main arterial road leading into Spalding.
“The proposed road is nothing more than a giant cul-de-sac for 1,000 houses, bringing a potential 2,000 extra traffic movements a day.
“The misery this volume of traffic will bring is set to be immense.”
Speaking at the planning meeting, Coun Avery (also vice chairman of Pinchbeck Parish Council) said: “There is a golden thread hinting at the benefits of SWRR.
“But given that section five is a cul-de-sac, such terminology is wholly misleading and disingenuous given there is currently no funding or commitment to the timeframe for sections two to four.
“Therefore, it provides no relief to the existing road network and its users.”
Coun Avery warned that plans to build 4,000 homes in the Vernatts Drain area of Pinchbeck, spreading them across three phases, would bring “significant, additional vehicle movements which can only travel north”.
“The initial 1,000 houses will take time to build, but traffic levels will intensify over time,” Coun Avery said.”