This week The Standard is joined by its sister paper in Skegness as tourism bosses get behind a proposed road which could help travellers explore and enjoy everything our area’s visitor economy has to offer without getting stuck in traffic.
Tourism leaders in Skegness have backed the Boston Standard’s sister title in supporting our campaign to ease the stress of visitors to the resort who often face long, hot delays stuck in traffic while travelling through Boston.
At the moment it is estimated a distributor road to speed up traffic flow would cost £100 million - and according to the Boston Traffic Strategy take more than 20 years to complete.
But following a crippling Easter for Skegness businesses because of the bad weather, we are joining our sister paper, the Boston Standard, in appealing for your help to get 1,000 signatures to get the distributor road discussed by Government sooner.
This follows an offer of up to £100 million by the Government to ‘improve productivity and connectivity of towns, tackle bottlenecks and traffic jams and through traffic’ to be announced in the summer.
Support for the campaign is already growing in Skegness. Colin Davies, who represents Ingoldmells Rural, is executive councillor for economy and place.
Coun Davies said: “The county council is keen to see road improvements where there is a clear indication of need for them.
“Big schemes such as the one talked about at Boston need Government backing to make them a reality. I therefore look forward to the Secretary of State supporting a bid for a distributor road in the future.”
Mayor of Skegness Coun Danny Brookes said: “I would sooner have tourists walking round Skegness enjoying what we have to offer rather than sat in traffic jams,
“Boston has needed this for years so it’s nice to see backing from our MP.”
Lisa Collins, manager of the new Lincolnshire Coastal Bid which drives tourism to the east coast, said: “We welcome the Boston distributor road. It would provide relief for visitors heading for the coast who complain about getting stuck coming through Boston, impacting on their visitor time in the area.
“Infrastructure plays an important part on tourism and we have huge issues with roads into Skegness which are often incredibly slow and gridlocked during busy holiday periods such as bank holidays.
“We welcome any campaign to help ease this problem and to assist our visitors in having a better journey to the Lincolnshire coast. This would impact significantly on increased visitor numbers and spend which are two of the BID’s key priorities.”
June Howard, business development manager for the Skegness, East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association, said: “We would definitely support any improvements to road networks. Anything that makes it easier for visitors to come to the area has to be a good thing. Fifty per cent of our catchment area is water, therefore we rely on the other 50 per cent land side.
“Whether visitors are coming for a day or a longer stay, journey times are important and can often be a deciding factor for visitors.”
Earlier this week, members of Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet, signed the Boston Standard petition.
Residents have been quick to sign the petition, but the authority says that the more names are collected the bigger, better and louder the message from Boston will be to the Transport Minister.
The petition campaign has been backed by Boston Borough Council and calls on the Government to give the town a share of extra cash it has made available for traffic schemes.
Coun Michael Cooper, Leader of Boston Borough Council, who signed the petition with Cabinet colleagues, said: “It is vital that we send the biggest, loudest message we can to Government that we deserve a share of this new money. We tick so many boxes - an opportunity to deal with traffic congestion, a plan for that already at an advanced stage, better transportation in an area vital to the nation’s food security, a boost to economic development and job creation, more much-needed housing and a chance to address long-standing air quality issues. It’s my ambition that every single resident makes their voice heard and signs this petition.”
Boston’s MP has also put The Standard’s campaign for funding to be drawn down for a £100 million investment for the new Boston Distributor Road on the Government’s radar after questioning the Transport Secretary in the House of Commons.
Speaking during a Topical Questions debate, Matt Warman MP asked Transport Secretary Chris Grayling: “The Secretary of State has long taken a personal interest in the Boston bypass.
“Will he join me in commending the excellent campaign being run by my local paper, the Boston Standard, which is gathering evidence from local hauliers, in particular?
“Does he agree that it bolsters an already compelling case for an application to be made to his bypass fund for this road in due course?”
Mr Grayling acknowledged that he had often ‘visited the proposed site of the Boston bypass on more than one occasion over the years’. This includes to oversee the plans for the Quadrant development.
He said: “I know that a vigorous campaign has been run by his local paper, local activists and himself.
“You will know, Mr Speaker, that we will shortly be bringing forward the next stage of our proposals for what I have dubbed the “bypass fund”, and there will be opportunities to build bypasses in the not-too-distant future,” he added.
Following the debate, Mr Warman said: “As I said in my question today, the Transport Secretary has taken a personal interest in the Boston bypass, and I am delighted that our local campaign is on his radar.
“The Government is providing a number of opportunities for local authorities to apply for funding for bypasses, and I look forward to supporting a bid from Boston at the earliest opportunity in the future.”
The Standard launched its campaign to get residents to become a driving force in getting a share of the funding to ‘improve productivity and connectivity of towns, tackle bottlenecks and traffic jams and through traffic’ earlier this month.
We’re calling on the Government to send some of the recently announced extra money from the National Roads Fund to help pay for, and speed up the building of, the new £100m Boston Distributor Road in a bid to help ease traffic flow around the town.
In an ideal world, a fully-funded new bypass would be the perfect solution for the town’s residents.
However, official data continues to show that the majority of traffic is heading into the town, but not coming out the other side.
Officials believe the new road, which has started in the Quadrant and will eventually link the A16 north and south will reduce the impact of traffic dramatically.
The road, which will include two new bridges, is set out in the Boston Transport Strategy, but at the moment could take more than 20-plus years to complete (the strategy only covers up to 2036).
It would be hugely reliant on contributions from housing developers and funding out of already tight budgets.
However, authorities can bid for between £20-50 million and in exceptionally strong cases £100 million – which would cover the majority of costs involved.
The Government has already listed some main roads it thinks could be considered, and Lincolnshire County Council has also moved to put some extras in its bid.
Announcements about selected projects will be made in the summer.
The Standard’s campaign, which would aim to deliver the petition to the Transport Minister before the summer announcements, is already backed by Boston Borough Council, which says speeding up the plans for the road would reduce town centre congestion, boost economic development, open up land for housing and reduce Haven Bridge area air quality issues.
The campaign has already been backed by hauliers and businesses in and around Boston.
The petition is available to sign at Municipal Buildings reception, Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex reception and the Guildhall reception.
Return completed petition forms to Communications, Boston Borough Council, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston PE21 8QR by April 30, 2018.
FACTFILE: Boston Distributor Road
Boston Distributor Road would provide a new route around the west side of the town, linking the A16 to the north, the A1121 Boardsides and A52 to the west, and the A16 to the south.
A safeguarded corridor for the route has been identified in the draft South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.
The road has been started as part of The Quadrant development by Chestnut Homes.
The scheme provides the initial section of the distributor road by linking the A16 with the adjacent London Road.
The plan at the moment will then be to head south along London Road a short way before another new road is begun, which will run to the A52 Grantham Road before crossing the New Hammond back behind Tesco/Aldi - thereby avoiding traffic along Wyberton West Road.
As part of the proposed route, there are sections which would require major structures including road, river and rail bridges over the New Hammond Back, and a similarly larger bridge over the Maud Foster drain.
It is estimated that the entire distributor road would cost in the region of £100m
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