Spalding Western Relief Road plans to be discussed and decided on at critical meeting
Plans to build a £100million road linking Spalding to Pinchbeck enter a critical phase this week when a decision is due on its future.
Two sections of the Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR), from Spalding Common to Holland Park (section one) and from the B1356 Spalding Road to Vernatts Drain (section five), will be considered for planning permission at a meeting on Monday.
Members of Lincolnshire County Council's planning and regulation committee are likely to face protestors from Spalding opposed to the SWRR project, primarily due to traffic, environmental and loss of housing concerns.
More than 200 letters of objection have been submitted, according to a report for the committee which described the planned road as "an important highway infrastructure project for the Spalding area".
Objections have also been raised by Pinchbeck Parish Council and Sir John Hayes MP, but conditional planning permission was given by South Holland District Council at the end of May.
An extract from the report said: "The SWRR is a major highway scheme that is of strategic importance and would improve the effectiveness of the transport network in and around Spalding.
"It will also support and facilitate the delivery of the planned residential development that is identified and promoted within the adopted South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.
"In the interim, both sections would help to provide access to existing and proposed new housing developments and, in the longer term, help to provide an alternative route for traffic around Spalding."
Whatever the decision on Monday, however, the final say on whether SWRR goes ahead or not may rest with the Government.
The report said: "The Ministy of Housing, Communities and Local Government has received requests from the public that these applications are 'called in' for determination by the Secretary of State.
"Therefore, a 'holding direction' which directs that the county council may not grant permission on these applications without specific authorisation from him has been issued."
Coun Richard Davies, the county council's executive member for highways, said: "Our hope is that both planning applications are approved so we can break ground on the northern section this winter and the southern section in 2022.
"However, should the committee choose to grant permission, they cannot officially issue a decision until the Secretary of State has reviewed the applications and makes his own decision about whether to call them in.
"We have not been given a timeframe for this process, but our hope is that it will be resolved quickly if a 'call-in' is necessary.
If approved, SWRR'S northern section will be funded by a £12million Government grant from its, with the remaining £15m to be funded by the county council.
However, funding for the southern section will be dependent on developer's contributions and more county council funding, both of which are still to be finalised.
Coun Davies said: "Although we plan to build the relief road in phases, the traffic research and modelling we undertook last year showed that both the northern and southern sections will improve traffic flows in town on their own, ahead of the middle section being built.
"As of now, we are still working on a feasibility study looking into a number of options for the central sections of the relief road.
"We expect this to be completed by the end of this summer at which time we will announce what our preferred route is, based on the study’s findings."