BYPASS: Has Boston been bypassed by its neighbours when it comes to a new road?

BOSTON’S bid for a bypass to ease the town centre traffic woes once and for all are ‘going nowhere’ according to one long standing campaigner, yet Lincoln, Grantham and Spalding are all due for new road schemes.

The Standard delved into why the town has lost out to its neighbours and what is currently being done to work towards a new road.

Christine Basu, chairman of the Boston Bypass Pressure Group, feels that the matter is vitally important for the future of the whole area.

She says traffic troubles in the town centre serve to put people off from locating their business in the borough and feels this is a key issue that has been neglected by politicians.

She said: “We seem to be going nowhere with it. The bottom line is that without it nobody will invest in this area.”

Documents released to The Standard by Lincolnshire County Council following a Freedom of Information request show that the full road could cost up to £55 million (see map above).

The papers include a constraints study from 2008 which states: “Poor access to the principal road network of the county and to the markets beyond, together with the additional costs caused by congestion, are cited by industry and commerce as major factors impacting on sustainability of the town’s economy and their willingness to invest in future expansion.”

It pinpoints issues with the route mapped out above as – crossings over waterways and the railway, the location of a major gas supply pipe between Punch Bowl Lane and the Maud Foster Drain, the environmental impact on the flora and fauna, heritage issues and the flood risk.

The route originally passed through the Tesco and B&Q site at Wyberton Fen but it was thought the compensation the two firms would want, coupled with tricky engineering, would rule that out.

The study shows there would need to be a bridge over the South Forty Foot Drain, railway and A1121 Boardsides at this point - described as a ‘particularly difficult section’.

The bypass issue gained national interest in 2007 when the Boston Bypass Independent group stormed to power in the borough elections.

The group suffered heavy losses at last year’s local elections after four years in power and has now dropped the word bypass from its title, becoming the Boston District Independents in a bid to shake their image as a single issue group.

Former council leader Coun Richard Austin says the new road has been agreed in principle but is reliant on developments taking place that will provide the money needed as part of any planning permission.

He says those developments have been held back by the economic climate and the fact that Boston is seen to have a flood risk, which adds to the cost of building here.

Coun Austin said: “It’s going to be done in stages. I can’t imagine that there is any development coming that will see the whole lot done in one fell swoop.

“I have been hoping that the first stages would be happening in the not-too-distant-future. I have been thinking that for the last 18 months.”

The pressure group and the political party fell out over the direction of the campaign and Mrs Basu now feels the election victory is a ‘huge opportunity missed’ which has put the cause back.

She blames a long-standing rivalry between Lincoln and Boston for leaving the town behind its neighbours when it comes to investment and undermining the case for a bypass.

She said: “Lincoln is the county town and of course it should have a large proportion; all Boston is asking for is its fair share and it definitely hasn’t had that.

“It does seem to be a local rivalry played out on a political level.

“You can highlight a lot of areas where Boston seems to be losing out. There’s a general feeling that they (Lincoln) dislike us. It seems to be endemic.”