SPARR protests outside South Holland District Council.

Protests over Relief Road step up

A group to oppose the Spalding Relief Road protested outside two meetings this week for Bourne Road residents who could have their homes bulldozed this week.

It followed on from the Spalding and Pinchbeck Against the Relief Road (SPARR) public meeting at The Vista on Saturday that the organisers claim was attended by just under 150 people.

SPARR members with placards chanted outside South Holland District Council to support the Bourne Road residents as they went for one-to-one meetings on Monday and Tuesday night.

Catherine Roberts attended the meetings after learning from a third party that her home could be in line to be demolished before a letter entitled “to the occupier” fell through her door.

She said of the meeting: “Throughout this whole process there has been a lack of empathy and compassion.

“Basically they (the county council and district council) blamed each other for not letting us know.

“They asked me to suggest where the road should go. I said ‘where there’s no houses’ and they said ‘that’s not possible’.

“There was an alternate route that would go over what’s currently allotments but a school had been planned for that in the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan, so they couldn’t do that now.”

The recently passed plan was also brought up in Saturday’s SPARR meeting with Roger Gambba-Jones, a member of the The South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee who finalised it, taking issue with an assertion that the plan had decided the route of the relief road.

He told the meeting “It was a general route to specify where the road will potentially go. It was a very broad route from one post to the other in order to give some idea of the area being affected from the point of view it was going to.”

He drew ire from local residents by saying: “The alternative route drove this relief road through of middle of my ward. I fought tooth and nail against my ward being scarred by the relief road.”

He did later clarify to The Voice that the relocation he was referring to was a route planned in 2006 and not the more recently preferred route that went over allotments.

MP Sir John Hayes spoke at The Vista meeting.

He said: “The way this has been handed is appalling and unacceptable.

“It’s clear to me the scheme is not enjoying large scale public support. I will fight tooth and nail to save the green space between Pinchbeck and Spalding.

“Why on Earth build a relief road with no middle?

“We’d currently have two ends, no middle and no relief for traffic which is quite an irony.”

It followed SPARR founder Petra Barneveld-Taylor’s addressed the meeting where she claimed the road move was due to it allowing deleviopers more space to build homes.

“It’s not going to be a relief road. It’s going to do nothing yet but they keep pushing it as a relief road.

“They’ve not even got funding for the middle section yet, but they’re talking to Bourne Road residents who already stressing out about losing their homes.

“The road has been moved for more housing to be built. They’ve done what’s in the developer’s best interests. They want to make profits.

“Because the county council are relying on funding for developers it seems this has opened a conflict of interest. It’s my opinion the council are supposed to look after us but they’re going to give into developers because of a lack of money.

“If the middle section doesn’t get built we’re going to end up with two very expensive cul de sacs.”

Planning applications for the first two sections of the road have been submitted.

Meeting pictures by Ben Chapman.

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