Shelved A17 project cash could stay in South Holland if land is available
A share of nearly £5.5million of Government cash meant for the provision of an overtaking lane on the A17 could stay in South Holland - under the right circumstances.
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, gave the commitment when speaking to the Lincolnshire Free Press just two days after abandoning plans worth £2.5million for an eastbound-only overtaking lane on the A17 in Gedney.
If we could find something that works in South Holland and can get agreement from the landowner in good time, that’s something we could do
Parish, district and county councillors, led by Coun Peter Coupland of Holbeach Rural ward, had spent months lobbying highways officers in their belief that the scheme was “flawed”.
Coun Coupland said: “I’ve done a lot of lobbying at County Hall on behalf of parish and South Holland District Councils to make sure that the scheme was thoroughly investigated and that it would good value for council tax payers.
“At the end of the day, there were one or two flaws in the scheme and I believe the leader of the county council realised that it would be best for everybody not to proceed with it.
“Now I’ll be pushing for improvements at the (Lowgate) junction in Fleet Hargate because it makes absolute sense to spend money on a dangerous junction where there is slow-moving traffic.”
Coun Chris Brewis, county councillor for The Suttons, said: “I am grateful to Coun Hill for coming to listen to genuine concerns from a large number of parish, district and county councillors.
“It was unfortunate that the consultation took place so late in the process, but I believe absolutely that dropping this strange scheme is absolutely correct.
“If the money is still available, and I understand that it may be, I think local people have an idea or two of what would really enhance that part of the A17.”
Coun Hill said: “There’s been so much local opposition to the scheme and people were very uneasy about it.
“The good news is that we’re able to use the money on other parts of the A17 but it’s all subject to government criteria.
“If we could find something that works in South Holland and can get agreement from the landowner in good time, that’s something we could do.
“But South Holland has done pretty well in the past, with the A16 from Spalding to Peterborough.”
Coun Hill’s decision to pull out of the scheme was backed by South Holland District Council leader Coun Gary Porter who said: “If the people affected don’t think that an overtaking lane on the A17 is the right use of the allocation of the money, then they have the right to say so.
“But we have to make sure that the money is used elsewhere in South Holland and my interest in the matter is through lobbying the Government to make sure that it’s spent elsewhere on the A17.
“It’s a good thing that the county council is listening to the community so that if the people who use the road think the money should be spent elsewhere, their views should be heard.”