Spalding residents who face losing homes have ray of hope
New hope emerged for Spalding residents who fear losing their homes as South Holland's planning committee rubber stamped two applications for a controversial relief road.
As district councillors backed county council planning applications for the southern and northern ends of the £100million road, it was revealed six potential routes are under consideration for middle sections.
Widening the search offers a ray of hope that homes could be saved but, meanwhile, protesters from SPARR (Spalding Pinchbeck Against the Relief Road) will take their fight to Lincoln in July, when the county council planning committee determine the relief road applications for Sections 1 (Spalding Common) and Section 5 (Pinchbeck).
No date is fixed for the meeting but Stacy Barneveld-Taylor, from SPARR, says members will appear there en masse as they did in Spalding on Wednesday.
Stacy, a retired US fire chief, and chartered civil engineer Steve Magenis, highlighted a raft of concerns to the planning committee during brief addresses as SPARR members packed the public gallery.
Afterwards Stacy spoke of "disappointment" that those concerns - and legitimate ones raised by councillors themselves - fell by the wayside.
The Spalding Common application received unanimous backing while the Pinchbeck scheme was approved on a14-0 vote with one abstention.
But the district council is only a consultee and the final decisions will be made in Lincoln unless a Goverment minister calls them in.
Stacy said: "The committee seemed to just acquiesce to the fact that this is going to happen and everybody just voted to push the applications through."
Bourne Road residents have been in fear of their homes being bulldozed since mid-February when they learned they live inside a "protected corridor" safeguarding the route of the relief road - and up to nine homes could be demolished whichever one of two routes, yellow or purple, was chosen.
Public and political pressure forced the county council into a rethink in mid-April, when county council executive member for highways Richard Davies, said his authority would revisit a previously agreed route - which passed relatively harmlessly through allotments - and a route further west.
Paul Jackson, district council executive programme manager for infrastructure and housing delivery, said during Wednesday's planning meeting that there is no fixed route for the central sections and, "without going into detail", the county is looking at six route options.
Bourne Road resident Amanda Halifax has since been assured by Spalding councillor and district council planning chairman Roger Gambba-Jones that the county council is searching for a route that doesn't involve demolishing houses - and are looking both within the protected corridor and beyond.
Coun Davies confirmed six routes are being considered and told the Free Press: "We will share all of the options and what we have found out about each one when we publish the full feasibility study this summer, along with our preferred route."
Amanda said: "We don't like to raise our hopes, but a long summer waiting for news about the proposed route is not good for our health and stress levels, and we hope that we are not clutching at straws and just hope these comments from councillors prove to be correct and save our homes."