Horncastle Town Council back £8.4m Mareham Road project - but raise concerns about traffic

An image of how the combined hub and college will look, subject to planning permissionAn image of how the combined hub and college will look, subject to planning permission
An image of how the combined hub and college will look, subject to planning permission
Councillors in Horncastle have thrown their weight behind plans for an £8.4m new district council HQ and further education college in the town - but with reservations.

East Lindsey District Council has submitted plans to move to the Mareham Road site which would a central hub and an education facility, in partnership with Boston College.

Members of the town council’s planning committee discussed the scheme last week and released a statement saying: “This application is extremely important to both ELDC and Horncastle and is supported by all members of the planning committee.

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“There are no planning considerations that would prevent this application from being accepted in its present form.

“However, we wish the planning authority to note a number of points we have made.”

Committee chairman Coun Brian Burbidge told the News: “The development will deliver enormous benefits to the town - both economically and in terms of providing some much-needed education facilities, but we have asked East Lindsey to consider a number of issues, most, but not all, related to traffic.”

The News revealed last week that an independent transport assessment indicated the extra vehicle movements generated by the development would not have a detrimental impact on already notorious hot-spots like the A153 and A158 - and Mareham Road itself.

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However, Coun Burbidge said the town council was seeking information about when the actual traffic survey was carried out.

Councillors believe it could have been when Banovallum School - the main access to which is off Boston Road - was closed because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Coun Burbidge added: “We also noted the assessment confirmed the junction of the A153 and A158 (Bull Ring) is already at over-capacity.

“The conclusion was the extra vehicle movements would not be a problem, which was quite surprising.

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“We think there should be some sort of plan and guaranteed funding in place to address traffic volumes.”

The committee is also calling for a review of parking regulations on Mareham Road, particularly at the start and finish of the school day.

They also want ELDC to speak to bus companies about providing a service from the town centre to Mareham Road.

Another concern is the impact on adjoining residential roads amid fears they could be increasingly used as ‘rat-runs’ to avoid year-round delays on Boston Road.

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Coun Burbidge questioned why a number of key organisations - including the county council’s highways department - had not commented on ELDC’s planning portal.

He added: “I hope that highways will comment and I would also urge as many local businesses and residents as possible to comment.

“Because of Covid-19 restrictions, it is likely to be the only chance to make your views known before the application is considered.”

Coun Burbidge shrugged off criticism of the scheme - and the timing of it - from councillors in Louth.

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He added: “I am sure that if this money was being invested in Louth, we would have heard rather a different message.

“As for the claims the project should be deferred because of Covid-19, the basic framework to be in place so that work can start once restrictions are eased.”

The town council is also calling for more details of the development’s ‘green credentials’ - including plans to cut down some trees - and for extra landscaping to protect neighbouring homes.

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