Kirton priest called on Lincolnshire County Council to 'shredder' on its plans for the A16 between Spalding and Boston
A priest told the county council to “take back the funding, find the shredder, get your act together and come back later,” over plans to remove an A16 roundabout.
Hundreds of residents attended a meeting on Wednesday at St Peter and Paul’s Church in Kirton for the local community to air concerns over the authority’s proposals to turn the highway into a ‘fully-signalled crossroads’, along with widening the length of both A16 approaches.
LCC said the move will improve the A16 corridor between Boston and Spalding – but residents fear the changes will lead to safety issues, as well as worsen existing traffic problems along the road.
During the meeting, Sam Edwards, head of highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said the plan - one of several A16 schemes funded by £20 million in Levelling Up Funding - would allow for future growth and infrastructure, including a planned dual carriageway expansion.
He said the existing roundabout was “not big enough to allow the dual carriageway to be tacked on”.
Residents feared the move would slow the traffic down and cause congestion in the village.
They asked why the money wasn’t being spent on a bypass for Boston and why, if traffic lights would improve the road, there was a roundabout built at the new Quadrant development at Wyberton.
After more than an hour of questioning, Father Alan Taylor closed the meeting by saying to officers: “Take the funds back, find the shredder, get your act together and come back later with a revised plan and a proper consultation.”
Parish council chairman Peter Watson asked for the council to carry out a full consultation with residents.
However, LCC’s executive portfolio holder for highways, Councillor Richard Davies, said a rule of thumb for such schemes is not “extensive consultation”.
He said the funding was a short-term opportunity and said there had been investigatory work carried out which identified the potential pinch-points.
He urged residents to contact their county councillors adding: “If the community as a whole feels that this is a really bad idea… and the overwhelming feeling is it isn’t needed, then we will go back to the drawing board.”
However, he said the scheme was not just about Kirton, but the wider A16 and South Lincolnshire route.
He also told residents that the government was not willing to fund a full Boston Bypass.
He added: “The reality is the days of £5/600million schemes are over, unless you live in London, unfortunately.
“The way we can deliver things in Lincolnshire… is you have to salami slice it, you have to draw down, you have to negotiate with government and you build up into the bigger schemes… our only option is to do it piecemeal – which has its challenges as well.”
One resident, however, told him to applause: “You say you’re willing to listen to us, well listen to this, we don’t want to remove the roundabout.”
Following the meeting, Coun Watson said the gathering showed there had “not been sufficient communication or engagement directly with the public by LCC”.