Relief road “still worth fighting for”
Caistor should still be making the case for a Western Relief Road to be built, town councillors were told at their last meeting (Thursday, March 10, 2016).
Owen Bierley, who is West Lindsey District Councillor for Keelby and Caistor, has raised the issue of the relief road several times during the past year while discussing the Central Lincolnshire Draft Local Plan with Caistor Town Council.
Now he has been joined by County Councillor Tony Turner, who said he was dismayed to learn recently that a planning application for nine business units has been granted on one part of the route.
“It was an officer decision. No-one knew anything about it,” he said. “I am a bit concerned that they did not even have the courtesy to inform the local member,”
He added, “They put it on the back burner because of cost, and they have taken back the money that road would have been built with, but there is no reason for taking it out of the system. It is very important for Caistor.”
Cllr Steve Millson said he had written to the county council some years ago, but the response “was not encouraging.”
“The main point that the authority made was that in terms of traffic flow, the surveys undertaken indicated that the route carries no more than an average link route of that type,” he added.
“That point is absolutely right,” agreed Cllr Owen Bierley. “In planning terms everything has to be evidence-based. They do modelling and they will say the modelling does not support a relief road. That is the officers’ decision. But actually, they work for us. We are the elected members and therefore it is up to us to decide what the priorities are. There is the third consultation of the Local Plan beginning and I think as a community we need to make clear the importance of the road for the future of Caistor.”
Cllr Bierley has consistently stated that the relief road would bring benefits to Caistor’s businesses and warned that new housebuilding in Caistor would put pressure on the town’s road network.
Cllr Turner added, “Cllr Bierley mentioned businesses, but I think it is important to the visitor economy of the town.”
Cllr Deborah Barker pointed out that traffic might be heavier than normal through Caistor at the moment because of works to the Melton Ross railway bridge. “Hopefully that might stop,”
The nine business units were broadly welcomed by the town council when planning permission was granted just over a year ago.
“The biggest problem with the relief road was the county’s unwillingness to put it back in the Transport Plan,” said Cllr Alan Caine. “There are spaces further down North Kelsey Road (where the route could go) and you can still get a link along the majority of what was planned.”
Mayor Carol Mackenzie predicted the High Street in particular would benefit from a relief road. “It’s not just the noise, but the old buildings to consider,” she said.
She thanked Cllrs Turner and Bierley for their efforts.
The photograph shows a lorry in North Kelsey Road earlier today.