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Spalding Western Relief Road fight goes to Government advisory body

Campaigners against the proposed Spalding Western Relief Road have taken their fight to a Government advisory body, Natural England.

South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes and members of SPARR (Spalding Pinchbeck Against the Relief Road) had talks with an official in Spalding on Friday.

Sir John said among concerns raised was the potential impact on the flora and fauna in the area of the Vernatt’s Drain, which is home to important species such as badgers.

Sir John Hayes joined SPARR at a meeting with Natural England
Sir John Hayes joined SPARR at a meeting with Natural England

The MP described Friday’s talks as “a good meeting” but he is seeking additional clarification on whether Natural England has the power to stop the plans as they are now outlined or simply mitigate the effects.

Sir John said there was an initial consultation regarding wildlife but added: “We felt the consultation had been inadequate.”

The MP says Natural England will now reflect on that further.

SPARR members on a bank beside the Vernatt's Drain
SPARR members on a bank beside the Vernatt's Drain

Sir John also raised the “fundamental problem” with the proposed road, pointing out it would not serve the interests of the people of Spalding or Pinchbeck if two ends are built and the middle section is never completed.

The MP has already asked his own Government to call in the planning applications for the southern and northern ends, effectively taking the decision-making out of the county council’s hands.

Stacy Barneveld-Taylor, from SPARR, was not available for comment before we went to press.

Previously SPARR has asked for the realignment of Sections 1 and 5 further out into farmland so they don’t run next to Vernatt’s Drain or South Drove Drain.

So far as Section 5 (Pinchbeck) is concerned, SPARR believes realignment would mean a proposed bridge could span over the gas line, the railway line, and Blue Gowt Lane in one go.

Mrs Barneveld-Taylor said previously: “This location would significantly reduce the negative impacts on wildlife, ecology and the rich environment along Vernatt’s Drain, and will reduce the potential loss of endangered and protected species that live along the drain.”

Meanwhile, as previously reported, residents of Bourne Road in Spalding have had the summer of hell waiting to discover if their homes will be bulldozed to make way for a middle section of the relief road.

* Lincolnshire County Council is underwriting the cost of building the northern and southern sections of the road.

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