Grantham Journal columnist: Conservative councillor Richard Davies says ‘ignore the tree huggers - we are a car-powered nation!’

Richard Davies - Conservative
Richard Davies - Conservative
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As many readers will no doubt be aware, this summer sees a range of road improvements going on in Grantham: junctions widened; extra lane space; bridges repaired and roads resurfaced.

Obviously it is impossible to work on our already congested roads without creating extra traffic jams but the school holidays provide the best opportunity to get the work done.

The reasoning is simple - we rely on our road network for everything from public transport through to deliveries and I strongly believe that improving and maintaining our road network is the most important role Lincolnshire County Council has to fulfil.

When I was first elected as a councillor in 2009 it was against a backdrop of under investment and stifling economic conditions. Here we are some four years later and significant amounts of investment have been delivered. The Market Place and Wide Westgate improvements and very shortly the huge superfast broadband rollout.

So what next for Grantham? What does our town need government to do to bolster the economy and the quality of life?

Firstly the bypass; Grantham has waited far too long for the A52 to be taken out of the town. Other parts of Lincolnshire have seen their bypasses delivered while Grantham has endured the menace of a major east-west road, the A52, through our town centre.

The Conservative-led county council have committed to delivering the road and as portfolio holder for highways it is my number one priority for Lincolnshire. I want to see the road construction underway within three years and there is no reason why it can’t happen.

Secondly we have to address the issue of car usage. The vocal green lobby will tell you the era of the car is over; well to be frank it may be in west London but here in rural Lincolnshire we rely on cars more than ever.

Local government has to stop using the car as a funding stream and instead see it as a driver for the economy. A simple start is free parking. Rather than generating millions in profit for council coffers we have to see costs reduced.

Why do so many large stores offer free parking? Because it brings in the shoppers. Rather than PR exercises for the few, why not free parking for the many?