Grantham Journal letter: Grantham really needs this

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There was a short piece in last week’s Journal covering the recent Grantham Area Committee meeting, for which the turnout was disappointing.

I was at the meeting, and your report failed to mention what was perhaps the most revealing question asked along with the subsequent responses from Coun Richard Davies and his colleague Steve Ingram.

Both Mr Davies and Mr Ingram gave information, presentations and updates that touched on where we are now with the southern relief road.

The current situation (as clarified at the meeting) is simply that the A1 is being linked to Spittalgate Level with a road through the King31 site – that is all. This effectively does no more than create another industrial area/estate at this location. Coun Davies stated that the main phase of the relief road was at least another 12 months away, and that the county council had taken somewhat of a “risk” with the project.

Two questions were posed at this point; Firstly, what was the “risk”? – after all, we had been assured at the meeting that the funding for the road was in place and that everything was going to plan with the whole project. Secondly – could the completion of the southern relief road, across to Somerby Hill be guaranteed?

The so far “slick” presentation stalled at this point replaced by some hesitancy. After a short time, and

when pressed for a simple

“yes or no” answer, finally Coun Davies (to his credit) stated that “nothing in life is guaranteed” and Mr Ingram added that “of course costs can go up”.

I genuinely hope that I am wrong (because Grantham does need a bypass), but it begs the question – if everything genuinely is in place, the funding secure, the land obtained, why hasn’t work started

on the relief road at both

ends?

Of course costs rise, we know that, and the longer the wait for the work to start,

rising costs are a certainty, with the result that any funding currently “secure” is of course, unlikely to cover those costs.

The proposed timescale for the completion of the road (2019), is also interesting, assuming that there will be the inevitable delays, this may well coincide with the next General Election, which may or may not assure the completion of the road before that test of public opinion.

I am far from convinced that the much trumpeted relief road is a “given”, but I can certainly see a new roundabout on Spittalgate Level leading to another industrial estate, with an unfinished exit pointing into a field, somewhere in the general direction of the top of Somerby Hill, mothballed and waiting forlornly for some houses and a road to give it a purpose and a point.

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