LETTER - SPALDING RELIEF ROAD PLAN: New and disturbing information
During the proceedings of the recent South Holland District Council planning meeting it was interesting to hear that there are now six route options for the central section of Spalding Western Relief Road. We were aware of four, but now six? SPARR (Spalding Pinchbeck Against Relief Road) would like to know how and when did these two new routes become part of the central section? And again, what consultation has taken place when the Lincolnshire County Council is choosing these additional routes?
During the meeting, we found new information regarding the pedestrian walking path for Section 5 at Blue Gowt and Two Plank Bridge equally disturbing. We all had the understanding that initially there was to be a Toucan crossing for the road, which has a 50mph speed limit. Then we were informed that there was an amendment to place a pedestrian tunnel/underpass. They both pose risks to pedestrians/cyclists and specifically all the schoolchildren who use Blue Gowt Lane and Two Plank Bridge to travel to and from school. Again, when did the consultations take place to come up with this additional option?
So to hear for the first time at the meeting that the Toucan crossing was out, as they have now deemed this too dangerous, and that the pedestrian tunnel/underpass was also out and alternative route has now been agreed to was outrageous.
The expectation is that pedestrians/cyclists/equestrians will be required to cross Two Plank Bridge, follow the Vernatt’s verge to the railway tracks, cross under the flyover bridge, and then walk all the way back to Blue Gowt Lane. SPARR’s position on this route is that it is ridiculous. LCC is going to require people to go half-a-mile out of their way to cross the road. This poses a myriad of risks to the safety of pedestrians/cyclists/horse riders for the following reasons.
Having people walk along a waterway is unsafe; this will not be a lit walking path; the underpass near the railway tracks is supposed to be a wildlife corridor; young people or women walking along this route is dangerous.
Once section five is complete and prior to houses being built, this will be an opportunity for this cul-de-sac to become a racetrack for “boy racers” and motorbike enthusiasts. And one could assume that the junction at Two Plank Bridge will be a great place for drifting and making donuts on a motorbike or in a car. I have personally heard from a friend that his son and friends are looking forward to the road being built so they can race their “boy racer” cars.
The other concern is, although the road will not be used for some time, until the houses are built and occupied, this will allow people to not use the designated pedestrian route and they will simply cross the road after crossing Two Plank Bridge. The danger is, that when the road is starting to be used, people by human nature will take the path of least resistance and will run across the road.
The last issue SPARR would like to bring up is the county council’s complete lack of contingency travel planning. The Highways expert, when answering a direct question regarding congestion and gridlock that will occur on Pinchbeck Road and Spalding Road, answered: “Drivers will take the route they want and we don’t have control over that.”