Clarity needed over West Street and Langton Hill works

West Street: Temporary repairs have been carried out but now a full programme of improvements are planned, leading to a closure and concerns about the impact on businesses and residents in the area
West Street: Temporary repairs have been carried out but now a full programme of improvements are planned, leading to a closure and concerns about the impact on businesses and residents in the area

Lincolnshire County Council is expected outline further details of their plans to reduce disruption caused by a major road improvement programme in Horncastle.

The authority will send Highways officers to a meeting of Horncastle Town Council’s planning committee next Monday amid concerns work on West Street and Langton Hill could cause chaos.

Potholes on West Street, Horncastle.

Potholes on West Street, Horncastle.

The county council has sent letters to residents and business owners, outlining the programme of work which will see the road surface in West Street re-built and improvements carried out to it’s junction with the A158 (Lincoln Road)

Access to and from Langton Hill - the main route to Woodhall Spa - will also be restricted during the work.

Initially, it was feared West Street and Langton Hill could be closed between August and October.

That promoted an angry backlash from residents and business owners.

However, Phil Cantwell - who owns an award winning Thai restaurant in West Street - said this afternoon (Thursday) that he had spoken to the County Council.

He said a highways officer had assured him West Street would ‘only’ be closed for three weeks.

However, Mr Cantwell added there was still some confusion about access arrangements - and how long Langton Hill would be restricted.

Many people are fuming about the county council’s failure to consult about the road closures.

Mr Cantwell, said: “We were promised a full consultation but what has happened? We get a letter telling us what will happen.

“Of course, closing the road (West Street) for three weeks - or restricting access - will have an impact but it is better than three months.”

Although the County Council has stressed disruption will be kept to a minimum, there is concern about how residents and potential customers will access the West Street area.

There is the issue of how HGV’s - and customers - will access businesses like Travis Perkins, Bush Tyres and Jackson Buildbase.

Buses will have to be re-routed while there are concerns over access for emergency vehicles - along with delays on the A158, the main route to the coast.

The junction with West Street and Langton Hill will be controlled by temporary lights - at the busiest time of the year.

Residents are concerned surrounding streets will become ‘rat runs’ for cars and short cuts for HGVs keen to avoid long diversion routes.

Town resident Andrew Neal raised the issue of the road restrictions - and the lack of consultation - with County Council Highways chiefs at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council earlier this week.

Mr Neal said: “The lack of consultation is appalling. It’s is not the way to manage major projects in the county.”

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways at the County Council, defended the decision.

He said: “We are just starting the engagement process. We have a team coming to talk to the town council.

“We don’t really consult on a lot of schemes because the ability to alter them is very limited.

“We try to take on as many views as possible.”

Mr Neal replied: “The letter you have sent out is a statement of fact.

“It’s not saying we will be engaging and we might change our minds. It is saying this is what we are doing and if you don’t like it tough.

“Engaging with everyone if you’ve already made your mind up is pointless.”

Coun Davies replied: “I won’t be popular saying this but if you engage with people it suggests we can change it and that creates unfair expectations.”

The county council is effectively digging up the whole of West Street and re-building the road surface, saying it cannot be repaired.

*The town council planning committee meeting will beheld at Stanhope Hall (6pm).

*We will have a full report about the closures in next week’s Horncastle News.

*Also, we’ll bring you the latest on plans for a Coastal Highway, featuring an update on a bypass for Horncastle.