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MP's plea to Michael Gove to scrap relief road plan

MP Sir John Hayes is seeking Secretary of State Michael Gove's help to send Spalding Western Relief Road back to the drawing board.

Sir John has already asked the Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse, to intervene - and have the plan "called in and considered directly by the Secretary of State".

Now Sir John has turned to a second Government figure, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, focusing on the northern end at Pinchbeck, which he describes as "an oasis of countryside on the doorstep for residents of Pinchbeck and Spalding".

MP Sir John Hayes is asking two Government departments to ditch the relief road as it now stands.
MP Sir John Hayes is asking two Government departments to ditch the relief road as it now stands.

The South Holland and the Deepings MP is concerned about plans to build 4,000 houses, "removing any obvious distinction between Spalding and Pinchbeck".

He's also worried about the road being put in along with a "monstrously ugly" bridge over the Vernatt's Drain and railway line.

And high on the MP's raft of objections comes the potential impact on people, wildlife and the countryside.

Sir John tells Mr Gove that completion of the road is far from certain, building two ends of the road will add to congestion and not relieve it, and a considerable number of residents "have concerns about the manner in which the consultation was conducted".

In his letter to Mr Gove, sent onSaturday, Sir John says: "Section 5 (the relief road section around the Vernatt's) is a much treasured area of open countryside, which is widely used by the communities of Spalding and Pinchbeck for cycling, dog walking, commuting to and from work and school.

"Blue Gowt Lane provides a vital and safe link between the two, because it is used by very few vehicles.

"In fact, Blue Gowt Lane is part of the Brown Fen Waterway Trail which was part of the Gateway Access Action Plan."

He says the view of South Holland's unique Fenland landscape is breathtaking, especially at sunset, when viewed across the banks of the Vernatt's - and the new road, with its bridge, means that view will be lost forever and "nearby homes will be affected by noise and light pollution".

Many residents have told Sir John about badgers, otters and water voles living there and he says the road would have "a severe detrimental impact on these rare and protected animals".

There's renewed controversy in Spalding over the relief road with a formal complaint being made to the district council about two members, Roger Gambba-Jones and Christine Lawton.

We have asked Coun Gambba-Jones why planning consent was given for two new homes on Bourne Road, Spalding, inside the protected corridor for the relief road ...which could see them bulldozed along with seven others.

Meanwhile Bourne Road residents are staging another in their series of protests on Saturday.

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