Woman left sofa surfing because of Spalding relief road plan
A woman is sofa surfing and sleeping in her car because bulldozers could one day destroy her dream home to make way for Spalding Western Relief Road.
The 62-year-old former school psychologist and therapist, who asked not to be named, bought a four-bedroom property on Spalding Road, Pinchbeck, in the late 80s and spent thousands doing it up and making it carbon neutral.
But she was hit by a bolt from the blue in November when a council note about the relief road plan was "stuck" on her house door.
She says since councils revealed publicly that her house stands on the path of the road, looters have stolen solar panels, heat source pumps and other valuable items.
The psychologist was so angered by the thefts that she put a sign in a window: "Private Property Stay Off Thieving Scum".
The woman spoke out as it emerged two planning applications - for the southern and northern ends of the road - could be decided by the Secretary of State instead of Lincolnshire County Council.
MP Sir John Hayes has promised to help the Spalding Road homeowner left high and dry by relief road plans.
The MP also continues his fight to save up to nine homes on Boune Road, Spalding, from the bulldozers - the Bourne Road homes are on two possible routes for the middle section of the relief road and residents have lived in limbo since mid-February.
Meanwhile Sir John says it is "incredibly positive news" that the Government appear minded to call in the plans.
But Sir John explained: "It doesn't presume that the decision will go one way or another."
The MP asked for the call-in, fearing Spalding could be left with "two roads to nowhere" if the two ends of the relief road are never joined up because middle sections can only be funded by cash from housing developers.
The psychologist was due to move into her Spalding Road home in March but says she was told in November to stop the renovation work because the council wished to acquire her property.
She recalled the moment she found a council note on her door and said: "It said we don't wish to distress you and then launched into it, what they were going to do. I don't remember the exact words but they were building the road and they wished to acquire my property.
"I felt like somebody had stuck a knife through my guts, twisted it and pulled them out.
"I didn't sleep, I didn't eat and I didn't drink for days."
The psychologist was living in a London flat but had already given her six months' notice because she was confident her Spalding Road home would be ready to live in.
The house hasn't been compulsorily purchased but the woman says she wants a like-for-like property and claims hers has been valued at "about £435,000 to replace" by a chartered surveyor.
She said: "People said it's so unique and bespoke that I needed to get a chartered surveyor. The house is totally carbon neutral, which is why it took me so long to do because I never borrowed a penny."
The psychologist said she was offered council accommodation, but declined and wants to be properly compensated in keeping with her property's true value.
A South Holland District Council spokesperson said: "We completely understand how emotive and difficult this situation has been.
"We have implored the lady concerned to engage with us on numerous occasions and multiple offers of support have been made in a bid to bring this to an amicable solution that benefits all parties, including our partner Lincolnshire County Council.
"The negotiations we've had have been conducted in a confidential manner, therefore we are disappointed that she has taken the decision to use the local press.
"Despite this, we implore her again to engage with us in a constructive manner so we can bring this situation to a conclusion."
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: "Last week, we received a letter from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government saying that the county council can proceed with bringing these two planning applications to our Planning and Regulation Committee later this month on Monday, July 29.
"However, the letter also states that, should they choose to grant permission, the committee cannot officially issue a decision until the Secretary of State has reviewed the applications and makes his own decision about whether to call them in.
"We haven't been given a timeframe for this process, but hope it will be resolved quickly if necessary."
* Bourne Road residents Amanda Halifax and Catherine and Frank Roberts made a joint statement on the relief road possibly being decided by the Secretary of State.
They said: "After weeks of worry and anxiety any glimmer of hope that the Secretary of State may recognise our concerns around the new road is welcome.
"That said we have been counting down the weeks of what can only be described as the worst summer of our lives waiting to hear news on the route for the central section.
"Only when we are told that no one is to lose their home now or in the years to come will we be able to feel confident and can look to the future."
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More by this authorLynne Harrison