MP: 'We need genuine consultation on Spalding Western Relief Road'
MP Sir John Hayes is calling on the county council to engage in “genuine public consultation” before deciding the route of the Spalding Western Relief Road.
Up to nine homes on Bourne Road, Spalding, could be demolished if the council opts for its published western (yellow) or eastern (purple) route.
On Tuesday Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said the council will revisit a previously agreed route – which passes relatively harmlessly through allotments – and a route further to the west.
The MP says there must now be genuine public consultation, with the council communicating directly with residents affected, and public meetings – with information presented in a comprehensible form – so people can express their views.
Sir John said: “I think local people will at least feel that their voices are being heard and they are not being rail-roaded into a situation which would have been, in my view, completely unacceptable.”
A county council blunder meant that most residents on Bourne Road didn’t know their homes could be bulldozed until they were warned by Spalding councillor Angela Newton.
Some found out as the council held a series of drop-in sessions in mid-February.
Catherine and Frank Roberts were in the dark until a neighbour, who had attended a drop-in session, knocked on their door with the shattering news.
Speaking to the Spalding Guardian last week, Frank said: “I stood there – as if someone had shot me – with my mouth open.”
At that time, Coun Newton dropped warning leaflets through residents’ letterboxes and held a public meeting within days so they could voice their concerns.
Speaking yesterday, Coun Newton said she is delighted the county council now appears to be listening to the residents and “have taken on board some of the things that didn’t happen quite correctly”.
She added: “I just hope that this time there is some proper, meaningful consultation and people are kept informed.”
But the council says no public meetings are planned at this stage.
Coun Davies said: “Over the last few weeks, the public have made their views on the proposed routes clear, and we have taken that on board.
“So, during the next few months, we’ll be working to identify and evaluate alternative options for the middle sections.
“That information, along with the feedback we’ve received so far, will be used to decide the best route for the road to follow. We are aiming to make this decision during the summer.
“People will have another opportunity to share their views if we apply for planning permission, at which point there will be an official consultation on the proposals.
“In the meantime, we would encourage people to participate in the consultation on the road’s northern and southern sections, which runs until Saturday, April 27.”
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