Work on the long-awaited Spalding Western Relief Road, costing more than £100million, could start in the autumn of 2021.
Plans for a five-phase development of the road, including a link-up between the A151 Bourne Road and B1172 Spalding Common have been laid out by the man overseeing Lincolnshire’s road network.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport at Lincolnshire County Council (LCC), revealed that funding was already in place for phase one of the scheme to pay for both a roundabout and rail bridge in Deeping St Nicholas.
In a report presented to county councillors during a meeting on Friday, Coun Davies said: “There are five phases to this western relief road, starting from the south and working north, with a scheme cost of over £100million.
“The county council and the developer (of Spalding’s Holland Park estate) have reached a financial agreement for funding section one and LCC will submit a planning application for the road only, with an aspired start date of Autumn 2021.
“Section two will be developed in tandem with section one to allow a full connection between the B1172 (Spalding Common) and the A151 Bourne Road.
“However, it is important to stress that the two sections will be developed independently with an aspiration to have both schemes constructed sequentially (back-to-back).”
Ambitions for a western relief road in Spalding first emerged as part of the South Holland Local Plan, a 15-year development wishlist for the district, published by South Holland District Council in 2006.
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It said: “The historic development of the road network in Spalding results in there being no satisfactory link between the A151 Bourne Road (Spalding Common, formerly the A16O on the western side of the town.
“The district council holds the view that there are environmental and traffic movement benefits to be gained by building a new link road between the A151 and the B1172.
“Furthermore, the council believes that there are benefits in extending this western relief road northwards from Monks House Lane across Vernatts Drain and eastwards to Spalding Road, Pinchbeck.
“This would provide ready access to the main employment area (Enterprise Park and Wardentree Lane) and to the bypass as an alternative to town centre routes for local traffic not destined for the town centre itself.”
The rest of the project, called the “Northern Connection” by Coun Davies, would connect the southern section to the B1356 Spalding Road in Pinchbeck, running alongside Vernatts Drain and including both a roundabout and another rail bridge.
Coun Davies said: “South Holland District Council, in collaboration with LCC, has submitted a bid to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for approximately £12million.
“If successful, this will result in an unlocking of the opportunity to progress the project, with a similar timescale as section one.
“But this would only happen if the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan is adopted and planning is granted.”
In July, the Spalding Guardian reported that South Holland District Council has secured £224,000 from the HCS to pay for “master planning and design work” related to the scheme, backed up by £100,000 of the council’s own money.
Then just two weeks ago, LCC leader Coun Martin Hill gave a commitment that the scheme “will happen”, subject to “developers’ contributions”.
Speaking to our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, Coun Hill said: “It’s something we’ve been working on for some time and we’re getting more confident that it’s likely to happen, sooner rather than later.
“There was a logjam but it’s looking a lot more likely that it will get sorted and we’re of a view that the Spalding Western Relief Road will happen.
“But it depends on developers’ contributions.”