Objections threaten delay to Grantham Southern Relief road
Council chiefs are meeting with objectors to Grantham's Southern Relief road to prevent any further delays of the much needed £80M project.
The Department of Transport has given Lincolnshire County Council its feedback to the legal orders concerning the planned highway.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, confirmed that the county council has received "some objections."
He said: "As part of the legal process, we have now published and submitted a statement of case, which is our official response to the DfT.
"To prevent these objections leading to a public inquiry later this year, we are actively engaging with the objectors in hopes of addressing their concerns and having the objections withdrawn so that the start of construction for the rest of the scheme isn't delayed into 2019.
"However, this will rely heavily on third parties being open to negotiations and fully supporting the project."
Legal orders are an essential part of any new road, as they set out any proposed changes to the current road network.
The legal orders for Grantham Southern Relief Road include:
*Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to acquire outstanding plots of land, if necessary, to enable the relief road to be built
*Side Roads Order to maintain access to all land and property directly affected by the scheme by improving/stopping up existing highways, as well as constructing new highway links into the new road
*Slip Roads Order to enable an all-movement junction to be created at the relief road's connection with the A1
The objections to the legal orders have come from a number of statutory objectors and include:
*Network Rail – affected land, width size of the easement, details of CPO, access rights to new access track and potential additional easements
* Zurich – justification and use of compulsory purchase order
* Western Power Distribution – protection of interests in vicinity of the scheme
*Grantham Motor Company – site access, position of transporter layby and stopping up proposal
Coun Davies added: "Regardless of the objections and the possibility of a public inquiry, the Grantham Southern Relief Road will be built.
"The scheme has already made good progress. Not only were the B1174 and Tollmache Road roundabouts finished in 2016, but archaeological works across the entire site are now complete –uncovering even more insight into what Grantham was like thousands of years ago.
"We're continuing to do everything we can on site so that we can hit the ground running once this long, but necessary, legal process is complete. For example, next month, we'll be carrying out ecological works and clearing hedges on site alongside working to get these objections withdrawn.
"It's important for people to remember that a project of this scale requires a lot of work beyond building new roads and bridges. Although we're not laying tarmac just yet, we have a dedicated project team working hard to get us to that stage. However, before we get there, we need to go through the processes of acquiring land, negotiating agreements with third parties and going through the proper legal procedures.
"This scheme is essential to Grantham's future, as it will not only improve its infrastructure and reduce congestion and improve journey times for those travelling in and around town, but it will also enable economic growth to the south of town."
The project is being led by Lincolnshire County Council and supported by South Kesteven District Council, Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Highways England, Homes and Communities Agency and local businesses.
For the latest news on the Grantham Southern Relief Road, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/majorprojects.