Horncastle’s Mayor has welcomed plans for a multi-million pound social ‘hub’ and College of Further Education in the town as ‘great news’ but warned decisive action needs to be taken to stave off fears of yet more traffic chaos.
East Lindsey District Council has revealed it wants to redevelop the former Horncastle College site off Mareham Road in an £8.6m project.
ELDC would move its headquarters to the hub and the overall scheme - among the biggest investments in the town’s history - has been welcomed by residents and MP Victoria Atkins.
Councillor Fiona Martin says the plans are ‘very exciting’ but has called for a full report on the impact of extra traffic on two of the town’s notorious hotspots - Mareham Road and Boston Road,
Coun Martin, a district and town councillor, said: “The benefits of these plans are tremendous.
“It is great news and should bring a much needed boost to the local economy at a time when many shops and businesses are struggling.
“But, we should not lose sight of the impact this will have on our roads.
“Mareham Road is already a nightmare, especially at school leaving time, while Boston Road is widely acknowledged as one of the most congested in the county.”
Coun Martin revealed when she and the town’s two other district councillors (Richard Avison and Sandra Campbell-Wardman) heard about the £8.6m scheme, they flagged up the issues of traffic.
She added: “All the vehicles leaving the college site will use Mareham Road and then the junction with Boston Road.
“Getting out of Mareham Road onto Boston Road can be almost impossible, especially at busy times.
“You have to wait for another driver to ‘let you in.’
“We all know about the jams on Boston Road which are dreadful.
“Add in the hundreds of extra vehicle movements that will be created by this development and it could be chaos.
“There is also every likelihood even more vehicles will use Foundry Street and Queen Street to avoid the jams but they both have residents’ only restrictions.
The district council is expected to back the scheme at a meeting tonight (Wednesday).
The project will need planning permission while ELDC will have to complete the purchase of the site from the county council.
The district council’s executive has already given its support with leader Craig Leyland saying it would bring enormous benefits to the area,
Ironically, Coun Leyland made his comments just hours before Lincolnshire County Council announced it had shelved plans for a long-waited town bypass which would have eased the pressure on Boston Road and the A158.
There is also the ongoing saga of traffic lights at the junction of Boston Road and the A158, with the town’s MP wanting talks with the County Council’s Executive Member for Highways Coun Richard Davies to discuss possible solutions.
Like Coun Martin, Ms Atkins has welcomed the redevelopment and, in particular, a new college which would reduce the need to travel for local students.
However, she claims the delays caused by the traffic lights are costing the region millions of pounds in lost revenue.