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MP says Spalding Relief Road plans 'would be comic if not so tragic'

MP Sir John Hayes is continuing his fight to stop Spalding having two roads to nowhere - polar ends of a relief road with nothing to link them for years to come.

Sir John was in the public gallery as district councillors backed both schemes on Wednesday.

He said: "I am obviously very disappointed with the outcome of the meeting."

MP Sir John Hayes fighting on to stop Spalding having two roads to nowhere.
MP Sir John Hayes fighting on to stop Spalding having two roads to nowhere.

The MP focused most of his comments on the northern section of the road, which will see a bridge built over the Vernatt's and the railway line and 4,000 new homes bringing about the merger of Spalding and Pinchbeck.

"I thought that a number of councillors made very good points about some of the specific doubts about the scheme, particularly about the engineering difficulties of actually locating it there, the issues of maintaining the planting that might go beside the road and ultimately, the best argument of all, was made by a combination of James Avery and Sally Slade about the purpose of the road.

"I supported the council as I invariably do in putting together funding for infrastructure projects but on the basis that I assumed the words 'relief road' were not a misnomer - in other words this relief road was going to relieve traffic congestion.

"It turns out - in James Avery's words - it is a cul-de-sac."

The MP agrees with Coun Avery that when houses are built at the northern end it will add to congestion rather than relieve it.

He said: "What I learned from last night's meeting was a confirmation of my fears that the relief road is certainly not going to be built in the foreseeable future and might never be built at all."

Weeks ago the MP asked Housing Minister Kit Malthouse to call in and have the Secretary of State determine the application and also appealed to Environment Secretary Michael Gove to send it back to the drawing board because of the potential impact on people, wildlife and the countryside.

Sir John says it's rare for ministers to act but he will argue this is an exceptional case.

"To be suddenly told you are going to have two ends and no middle is bizarre," he said. "If it wasn't tragic it would be comic."

He accepts the Government wants more houses built - but says it is up to councils to choose the sites, not developers who will opt for greenfield sites because brownfield (previously used) ones are harder to develop.

The MP says: "We have got to stop towns sprawling into villages or we will destroy the integrity of those villages and the character of our towns."

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