Bypass - Viable routes are going fast

I have sent this letter to Richard Wills, executive director environment and economy at Lincolnshire County Council.

The time has come to address the subject of a bypass for Horncastle.

I am sure that you are aware that the council’s highways department has recently recommended that the Crowder’s planning application is rejected due to the volume of traffic passing down Lincoln Road, Jubilee Way, East Street and Spilsby Road approaching an unacceptable limit.

If the council is prepared to make that statement, it must, by default, be prepared to support a bypass application.

I understand that its statement was made using data from a recent traffic survey conducted by Mouchel.

Over recent years, East Lindsey District Council has encouraged businesses at to develop and expand.

As the local authority, East Lindsey gains an increased income from this expansion within the tourist industry.

It is now time to resolve the problem that the enormous increase in traffic causes in local towns and villages within the district, particularly Horncastle.

The district council will also, within its local plan, wish for there to be more development within Horncastle over the next 20 years.

There are already planning applications for more than 1,000 homes which have been passed, but not yet built.

It is now time for East Lindsey to make a strategic review of its planning policy concerning roads within the district.

As our planning authority, the district council should be making a case to the county council and central government for Horncastle to be considered for a bypass within the next 10 years.

The east/west traffic to and from the coast has increased considerably over the last 10 years.

The traffic has gone from seasonal, within the summer months, to almost all-year round.

The majority of properties on the coast are available to let for 11 months of the year.

As a result, the amount of traffic travelling down Caistor High Street (B1225) and Lincoln Road (A158) through town and then south down the A153 has increased considerably.

Much of this traffic is HGVs travelling to and from Immingham and the surrounding area.

These lorries cause considerable delays as they turn right from the A158 on to the A153 in the centre of Horncastle.

This traffic exacerbates the problem of the increase in traffic travelling to and from the coast.

I have been dismayed that when the subject has been raised at town council, planning committee or HNDP group meetings, it has generally been met with disinterest.

The normal answer from senior councillors is that we already have a bypass.

I would remind those individuals that Jubilee Way was built as a temporary relief road more than 30 years ago.

The density of traffic has increased almost tenfold since those days.

I understand that the town mayor, Coun Aron, states that he supports the requirement for a bypass.

He is, however, rather negative in that he believes that there will never be money available to provide the bypass that is required.

His plan for a series of link roads through housing estates to the north and east of the town is fundamentally flawed.

Although the cheapest route for a bypass would be around the north of Horncastle, this would not be the best solution.

To mitigate the majority of the problem, a bypass should go around the south of the town, thereby providing for 85 per cent of the through traffic.

Much of the new road would be cut into the hillside and so, as with Louth bypass, it would have little visual, noise or environmental impact.

The proposed bypass also gains support from county councillor Mair, who suggests that the project could also facilitate the much-needed lorry park.

The southern route would service the town’s industrial estate and the land allocated for further expansion.

Due to the rapid rise in developments around the town, it is essential that the proposed routing for a bypass is established and protected.

The most viable routes are fast disappearing as housing developments are approved and start to be built.

Some individuals claim that a bypass would be detrimental to businesses within the town. The same was said in Louth before its bypass was built. Most now agree that the bypass has saved the town. Equally, its business park has flourished without any negative impact on the town.

Its location next to the A16 and the bypass has enabled HGVs to access it with no detrimental impact on the town.

As the county highways authority, I believe that it falls to you to take a lead role in moving this requirement forward.

It will only come to fruition if the appropriate local government and government bodies engage and develop a robust case.

If that happens, I do believe that, in due course, money will be made available to complete the programme.

Andrew Neal