This week, the Grantham Relief Road came a long way closer to becoming a reality. £16 million closer to be precise.
After intensive lobbying by the county council, the district council and yours truly, the Government agreed to provide £16 million towards the estimated £40-50 million cost of a new road linking the A52 and the A1. The district council has already granted planning permission. And the county council has already agreed to finance the construction of the road (in the expectation of repayment from the proceeds of housing, office and warehouse development on the land between Spittlegate Level and Somerby Hill).
So George Osborne’s cheque for £16 million should make it a lot more likely that we will be able to surmount the few remaining obstacles and start work in the next few months. But it’s not in the bag yet.
Last weekend someone told me that the idea of a road bypassing Grantham to the south was first mooted in 1895! I don’t know whether that’s true but it certainly seems to have been promised a dozen times since then.
I know the Journal’s readers don’t want to hear any more politicians making promises. But if a day does come when you hear the sound of diggers moving earth for a new junction on the A1, when you see the foundations of a new bridge rise up either side of the River Witham, when you walk down Wharf Road and can breathe easily because the traffic is flowing freely and there aren’t queues of lorries belching out noxious fumes, then I hope that you will remember that a Conservative Chancellor worked with a Conservative county council, a Conservative district council and a Conservative MP to deliver something that made Grantham a much better place.