West Lindsey District Council leader Jeff Summers has warned of a ‘looming disaster’ in Market Rasen due to a huge increase in traffic caused by hundreds of proposed new homes.
In an extraordinary statement to the Rasen Mail, Coun Summers said the only ‘sensible solution’ to the problem was to build a new road taking traffic away from the town centre.
His comments come as developer Chestnut Homes plans to build 300 new homes on land off Caistor Road.
Coun Summers said: “We are all very well aware of traffic flow issues through Market Rasen as well as car parking.
“With the proposed housing growth for Market Rasen one can expect an increase of traffic in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 journeys per day.
“The only sensible solution is to take through traffic away from the town centre by continuing Gallimore Lane across the A46 over the railway line, crossing Tealby road and joining the A631 opposite the race course.
“This route option is clearly the cheapest way of taking through traffic from the town centre High Street and allowing those commercial businesses a fair chance of survival.
“This problem requires developers, planners in West Lindsey and the county council to recognise what is being created and take appropriate action now whilst there is still an opportunity.
“I challenge Lincolnshire County Council highways, West Lindsey district Council planners and the developers to come together and formulate a strategy to prevent what I recognise as a looming disaster.”
And Coun Summers has urged residents to send their views to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new homes - which Chestnut says will ‘significantly enhance’ the economy - have caused anger among many residents who set up Rasen Action Group (RAG) to fight the plans.
RAG is worried about pressure on infrastructure, flooding and traffic.
Coun Summers added: “It is well known communities, towns and villages have to be twice as large today to sustain the businesses and facilities that once was the case 50 years ago. Hotels, public houses, shops and post offices, we’ve seen them all disappearing over recent years. We also understand the reasons why.
“Market Rasen is a prime example of where change is required but not at any cost!
“The commercial town centre needs financially invigorating, more people spending more money on the High Street with the right offer.
“Just building more houses, increasing the population and volume of cars in the immediate area is not the answer alone.”
A West Lindsey District Council spoksman said: “We treat all applications the same and apply the appropriate legislation and guidance and where necessary put options to the planning committee to decide.
“We take all neighbourhood plans into consideration to inform decision making and seek comments from the public and other statutory bodies on receiving applications.”
And a Chestnut Homes spokesman said: “Prior to submitting our outline planning application for this site, we held a detailed public exhibition of our plans. This gave people the chance to see our proposals, speak to our team and give us their feedback.
“A period of public consultation took place, and comments submitted to us during this time were collated and taken into consideration. Everyone now has a further chance to comment on our proposals.
“Any impacts of development are considered through the planning process, and appropriate mitigation measures are generally agreed before permission is granted.”
LCC flood risk and development manager, Mark Welsh said: “We’ve been supporting the councils covering West Lindsey, North Kesteven and the City of Lincoln in the development of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.
“This document, which is currently the subject of a public examination, identifies suitable areas for development in Market Rasen.
“In addition, when planning applications come forward for consideration by West Lindsey, as local planning authority, we will look at the transport issues in detail and advise them on whether any highways improvements are necessary.”