Highways officials and planners respond to traffic concerns surrounding new housing development

Construction work ongoing on the first few homes at access roads to the Handley Chase development. EMN-180208-152648001
Construction work ongoing on the first few homes at access roads to the Handley Chase development. EMN-180208-152648001

Local highways officials and planners have responded to villagers’ concerns about construction traffic passing through their village to a major new housing development on the outskirts of Sleaford.

Outline plans have been passed for the Handley Chase ‘urban extension’ scheme which will see around 1,450 homes built with local amenities off London Road, between Sleaford and Silk Willoughby.

But the parish council at Silk Willoughby is unhappy that the agreement for the first phase of homes will see all construction delivery lorries pass through their quite village rather than using Grantham Road.

Parish council chairman Alan Wilson said in return, there was not even an improved footpath and cycleway offered to link the village to the town and make it safer for people with the prospect of increased traffic. He said the existing path is narrow and overgrown.

He said planners at North Kesteven had not made any provision in the planning consent and there was said to be no money available from the county highways department.

Local county councillor Kate Cook is trying to get a meeting of local businesses and councils together to find alternative funding avenues for the path.

An NKDC spokesman said: “Plans for the movement of construction traffic have to take on board a number of factors, including the type, frequency, timing and number of vehicles being used and the suitability of the available routes to and from the site. Where possible routes avoiding built up areas are favoured, but inevitably given where development takes place there will be some unavoidable disruption.

“All these factors were considered in determining the route to the site via Silk Willoughby to Handley Chase as being appropriate.

“We appreciate this can have an impact on local residents and may cause some inconvenience.”

A Lincolnshire County Council spokesperson said: “A routing agreement for the first phase of the works was agreed which directs construction traffic through Silk Willoughby to gain access to the site and not via Grantham Road. This is to ensure that HGVs avoid the narrow side roads in the Sleaford town centre.

“And we understand that the district council have been working with the parish council to help them seek possible grant funding opportunities for improvements to the footway and cycleway in Silk Willoughby.”

Coun Cook also had concerns about pedestrian safety when new traffic lights are added to manage traffic flow at the junction of Grantham Road and London Road as the new housing development leads to increased vehicle movements. She wished to be assured that pedestrian crossings would be incorporated into the lighted junctions and had concerns about visibility for vehicles turning out of the Spar shop car park when confronted with two filter lanes of queueing traffic at the new lights. There is also a school bus stop outside the Spar.

The county highways spokesman said: “As part of the planning permission granted by the district council, the developer will need to provide improvements at the junction of Grantham Road and London Road, with work due to begin in the near future.

“In addition, pedestrian crossing points will be provided if they are deemed to be necessary during the design process.

“However, the planning committee did not feel improvements near the exit of the Spar car park were necessary.”