Relieved Spalding residents hope they have won the war in fight to save their homes
A Christmas miracle U-turn has brought a reprieve for nine Spalding families whose homes were threatened with bulldozers.
Yesterday's (Monday’s) county council Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee unanimously voted to take the middle section of Spalding Western Relief Road through an industrial site - Trojan Wood Ltd - in Bourne Road instead of smashing through family homes on the same street.
Relieved families, who say they have endured 10 months of hell, now hope the council ruling executive will rubber stamp the recommendation on January 7.
Bourne Road resident Frank Roberts said: “We won the battle but let’s hope it’s the war as well.”
His wife Catherine fought back tears yesterday as she pleaded with the committee to consider the impact on the lives of the nine families, calling the proposed demolition route recommended by council officers “immoral and inhumane”.
She promised residents would “not leave without a fight”.
Catherine asked councillors: “What do you want for Christmas? All the residents would like is to know that they can enjoy many more Christmases in the comfort of their home in Bourne Road, a place we all wish to remain.”
Afterwards, Catherine told the Free Press: “We can actually breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy Christmas.
“We want to thank our local councillors, Angela Newton and Elizabeth Sneath, for their help.”
Bourne Road resident Darren Long,who lives in a house threatened with demolition, told us: “I am pretty gobsmacked to be honest and almost lost for words after nearly a whole year of chaos and worry. It’s not been a pleasant start to the year but it’s certainly been a better end.”
Although relieved, he’s considering suing the council for all of the stress he and his family have been put through.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting,Coun Newton said: “Option three - the route throughhomes - might be slightly cheaper, but officers have not quantified the feelings and mental anxiety that residents have felt.”
Coun Rodney Grocock added: “I did not become a councillor to cause distress to people.
“Lincolnshire County Council is putting money before people.”
County council figures show the route through Trojan Wood to be more expensive than the one through homes.
But Coun Eddy Poll called the £2.24 million difference a “drop in the ocean”.
Stacy Barneveld-Taylor, from SPARR (Spalding Pinchbeck Against the Relief Road) said campaigners will continue fighting the project as a whole but she is delighted for the Bourne Road residents.
More by this authorDaniel Jaines, Local Democracy Reporter