Councillors demand answers to ‘no closure’ of St Lawrence Street

Angry councillors in Horncastle are demanding answers from Lincolnshire County Council regarding the decision not to ban traffic from a town centre street.
St Lawrence Street - at the centre of yet more controversy about the decision not to make it pedestrian-onlySt Lawrence Street - at the centre of yet more controversy about the decision not to make it pedestrian-only
St Lawrence Street - at the centre of yet more controversy about the decision not to make it pedestrian-only

The town council has been pressing for several months for St Lawrence Street to be made pedestrian-only.

They believe it would enhance the town centre, boost businesses and lead to an outdoor cafe-style culture in the Market Place.

But the county council has refused to sanction the move.

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It was thought the ‘No’ decision was made at a committee meeting but it now appears it was taken at a site meeting, actually at St Lawrence Street.

Town councillors have asked for minutes of that meeting only to be told by county councillor Bill Aron that there weren’t any because it was held ‘on site’.

Speaking at last week’s monthly town council meeting, Coun Richard Barker said: “I want to ask our county councillor why a meeting that was so important to this town was not recorded?

“How was the decision made? Who made it? What were the reasons?”

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Coun Barker added it was appalling that no town councillors were present – or even knew the meeting was taking place.

He added: “No-one from this council was invited so there is no way of verifying anything.

“I don’t think that is acceptable on a subject so important to the town”

Coun Angela Birchall said: “I can only support what Coun Barker said.

“I am concerned a decision was made on the spot.

“Could we at least have a list of people who attended?”

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Coun Aron replied by saying he had previously stated who attended the meeting and the list included himself, executive councillor for highways Coun Richard Davies and highways officer Richard Fenwick.

He added Mr Fenwick was currently on leave but he would ask about the decision when he returned.

Coun Aron added Mr Fenwick had already outlined the reasons in an email sent to the town council.

Coun Alan Lockwood pointed out the town council had requested information from Coun Aron a month ago.

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He added: “If he’d done what we asked earlier then we might not be in this position.

“This meeting was arranged so no-one from the town council was present.

“We could not put our case for the benefit of the town.

“You (Coun Aron) held it with one or two highways officers but how do we know what was said?

“It shows your lack of commitment to this town.”

Coun Aron denied that was the case and said he had always campaigned for Horncastle.

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He had previously indicated that as highways officers were against banning traffic, it was difficult to argue against their experience and expertise.

The town council is taking legal advice about whether they can close the road themselves, without the support of the county council.

Town clerk Amanda Bushell said she was waiting for a reply from a national body as to how the council might proceed.