Relief road in Spalding will add to traffic chaos sparked by extra freight trains
Spalding Western Relief Road is likely to add to predicted traffic chaos if more freight is pushed along the railway line.
That’s the view of George Scott, chairman of Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum, who says the road will not achieve its aim - linking Pinchbeck with Spalding Common - for decades.
A rail underpass at Werrington could be completed by next year or 2021, sending more freight trains Spalding’s way.
Mr Scott and Spalding councillor Angela Newton believe town level crossings crossings could be down for around 30 minutes in every hour.
Some Government cash is available for the £100million road but most will come from developers building houses.
Lincolnshire County Council wants to build the two ends of the road but cannot say when they will link up.
At Pinchbeck it is envisaged there will be 4,000 new homes, dubbed by the parish council as the “largest cul-de-sac in Europe” - because Spalding Road will be the only way in and out until the rest of the relief road is built.
Mr Scott said: “The planning of the relief road seems to be out of kilter with what needs doing, for instance why get funding for either end and and no funding for the middle section and the time scale is in tens of years?”
He says building homes at Pinchbeck will add traffic to the already heavily congested Spalding Road, firstly with construction vehicles and secondly with vehicles owned by new residents.
Mr Scott said: “The upgrade to the joint line in recent years was for one specific purpose only and that was to use the underpass when built for a possible increase of freight traffic to Doncaster.”
He says the line will become the diversion route for any other traffic when the east coast mainline is under repair: “This could cause the level crossings to be closed more frequently than they are now and I also remember Network Rail mention that it could be at least up to 32 minutes in each hour when completed.”
Recently Network Rail declined to tell the Free Press how many extra freight trains there will be and the county council
admitted it had no facts and figures.
Spalding councillor Angela Newton backs Mr Scott’s view on possible level crossing barrier downtime, saying Network Rail revealed figures to Spalding Town Forum three or four years ago.
Coun Newton is fighting for Bourne Road residents who fear their homes could be demolished to make way for the relief road.
But Coun Newton is also concerned about the impact on traffic congestion on the B1356 road between Pinchbeck and Spalding.
She said: "I certainly believe a lot more needs to be done to consider existing residents and the effect any new road could have on their homes.
"There is enough wide open space in this part of the county to build roads without impacting on people's homes.
"Proposals to build up to 4,000 houses near the Vernatt's before a relief road is commissioned seem ludicrous.
"The traffic needs sorting out before more large scale development in that area.
"I think the county council need to decide if they are providing a relief road or a road to enable more houses."
The county council has been under fire for wanting to build "two roads to nowhere" by aiming to complete the northern and southern ends of the relief road while it could be years before they are linked.
In 2016 Pinchbeck Parish Council said the plans around the Vernatt's for 4,000 homes in a cul-de-sac would create a new European record.
* Spalding’s Bourne Road residents are winning new supporters as they battle to save their homes from the bulldozers.
Up to nine homes could be demolished if Lincolnshire County Council picks either one of two published routes for a middle section of Spalding Western Relief Road (SWRR).
Amanda Halifax, whose home is under threat, was among residents gathering signatures in Holland Market on Saturday.
Amanda said: “A further 100 signatures have been added to the petition, asking the council not to demolish family homes in pursuit of the SWRR.
“Again, on Saturday, people were actually looking for us to sign because they are so appalled at the way we have been treated.”
She said residents still want to know why they weren’t directly informed about the ‘safeguarded corridor’ in the local plan that protects the line of the road and threatens homes.
She says it appears the district council planning department “knew nothing about this closely guarded secret” by giving consent for two new homes.
The residents want 1,000 signatures so they can speak directly to a council meeting in Lincoln. So far around 800 people have signed.
More by this authorLynne Harrison