A packed meeting of around 400 people filled St Denys’ Church in Sleaford to put their opinions across to the Town Council on whether it should fight plans to build a link road and rail bridge across part of the Boston Road Recreation Ground and close the Southgate level crossing.
The meeting was called by Sleaford Town Council after North Kesteven District councillors voted in principle earlier this month to go ahead with compulsory purchase of the land needed, to allow access to the development of a new Tesco superstore on the old Advanta Seeds site and the regeneration of the Maltings.
Townspeople were queueing to get into the meeting last night (Wednesday) and at times emotions threatened to boil over as passionate campaigners struggled to be heard over choruses of disapproval from others with opposing views.
Most people were in favour of regeneration and were keen to revive the town’s fortunes, but opinions differed on whether a bigger Tesco was the answer and whether closure of the crossing and disruption of the ‘rec’ was the best way forward.
Kate Cook of Grantham Road, and a company director believed the business community should be consulted on what should happen and quoted figures from a Facebook poll in favour of the link road, Tesco and the crossing closure in order to bring about regeneration and redevelopment and reliable journey times. She also had a petition of 526 signatures to back it up.
She said: “I feel that doing nothing is not an option.”
Jan Spooner of Kirkby La Thorpe said common sense was lost in favour of blind commitment to Tesco.
“A vast superstore will physically destroy the town and will have far more customers at a more accessible site,” she said. “With 92 homes on the Tec Food site and 204 at the Maltings, congestion will be tailed back as it was before the bypass.”
She added that there would be numerous lorries everyday to and from the energy plant on Boston Road, 47 mature trees would be lost and the road would be uncomfortably close to children playing.
Mayor Brian Watson thanked everyone for their comments: “Whether I agree with them all or not, it is good to hear everyone speak. The next step is that we have 16,000 people in Sleaford and their opinions do matter. Tell your friends to write to the Town Council or email via www.sleaford.gov.uk with their thoughts and we can get the bigger picture.”
Then the council would meet to discuss the overall view and weigh up whether it should fight on.
Read more comments from the meeting in next week’s paper.
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