I have read with interest the comments that you (Coun Richard Fry) have made in the local press concerning the proposed Horncastle bypass. I detect a certain posturing between Lincolnshire County Council and East Lindsey District Council rather than trying to work together to find a solution to the traffic problem.
The introduction of the 2,000 houses housing requirement is, in my opinion, a ‘red herring’. The problem with the traffic in Horncastle is not so much a factor of local traffic but more so the transiting traffic. If there were ‘no rush to the coast’ or HGVs from Immingham to the South, Horncastle’s roads would be perfectly adequate for local traffic. Even if the town’s housing stock were to increase by 45 homes per year over the next 15 years the roads would be adequate. The problem lies directly with the meeting of two arterial roads, the A158 and the A153 and the through traffic that they support.
When the Prime Minister took post the Government stated that it would become less ‘London centric’. One of its stated policies was to support the improvement of the tourist industry on the East Coast. Equally, it is a stated objective of ELDC to support the expansion of the tourist industry on the Lincolnshire coast. If these aims are to come to fruition they must be supported by an infrastructure programme. As long ago as 2006 it was documented in LCC County Transport Plans that the A158 needed to be upgraded. Both Horncastle and Wragby were stated as towns that required bypasses. Since then the subject would appear to have fallen off the agenda.
ELDC are quite correct in stating that Horncastle does not need an additional 2,000 more homes in the next 15 years. Equally, I would be interested to understand how the building of such homes would subsidise the building of a bypass. The majority of the monies should be provided by Central Government. I understand that ELDC will include ‘a form of words’ within the Local Plan and the issue is subject to a five year review to gather evidence. Too little and too late! What more evidence is needed than the Mouchel Survey and the daily RAC/AA Traffic Reports containing delays through Horncastle? My main concern is that if action is not taken very soon to decide on the route for a bypass the most viable options will be developed. Thus the final solution will be longer, more obtrusive, less environmentally friendly and inevitably cost a lot more.
I am pleased that ELDC and LCC are talking to each other on this subject. I would, however, request that you treat the subject with some urgency and join forces with our Member of Parliament to raise the profile of the Horncastle bypass on the national roads infrastructure.