Press Release - 14 May 2007
Robert Fisher writes an article for publication in the "New Civil Engineer"
Listening to Voices of Reason: Boston Bypass Campaign by Bostonian and Bypass Campaigner, Robert Fisher
As just one of the many bypass campaigners and supporters in Boston, here is my own personal reflection on what has been achieved so far.
Born in Boston, my brother Richard and I have always commented about the disbelief that the infamous John Adams Way – a dual carriageway strewn with traffic lights – was ever allowed to have been built, right through the centre of the market town of Boston, our home town. “Only in Boston”, was the phrase that was used many, many times.
Boston’s traffic congestion, population and the number of newly built homes has rapidly grown over the last decade, to the point of absolute gridlock. The re-siting of the supermarket Asda across the town, right next to the railway crossing, and yet another set of traffic lights, has exacerbated the problem. There is also a desperate lack of river crossings.
BBEG Chairman, Robert Fisher.
"I would like to dedicate this article to my brother,
Dr Richard N Fisher."
It is widely recognised that John Adams Way is an example of how not to do things, yet at this point in time, Lincolnshire County Council still want to continue to extend this road by widening Liquorpond Street – this being right outside people’s terraced houses and approaching the railway crossing. They did not include a major scheme for Boston in the Local Transport Plan (LTP2) last year and moreover, made an Executive Decision that Boston should be placed on an ‘aspirational list’ and that ‘no work be undertaken on any aspirational schemes during the whole of the LTP2 period’.
Hearing about the bypass campaign in November 2004, and having heard so often that, “You'll never get a bypass” and “I'll never see a bypass in my lifetime”, I asked myself the question, “Why?” Why has a major road scheme for Boston been ignored for decades? I decided to join forces with the ever growing number of people asking that very same question – open and honest people who are also passionate about this cause and live the nightmare of traffic gridlock daily.
Hearing the many snippets of evidence that have been given to us over the last few years, it is clear to me that politics (‘local agreement has not been reached’) have got in the way of Boston being provided with a major road infrastructure and sadly, there appears to be an assumption that the general public are ignorant.
Our pressure group, the Boston Bypass & Economic Growth (BBEG) group have tried on several occasions to meet with Lincolnshire County Council to try to get them to listen to voices of reason.
Such was the strength of feeling locally that people wanted to start to speak out. A lot of the evidence, including our own media video entitled ‘Vox Popularis – Voice of the People’, can be seen on our website, www.bbeg.org.uk
At the local elections in May, the Boston Bypass Independents, formed and led by Cllr Richard Austin (already elected 2 years ago to Lincolnshire County Council), managed to field 32 candidates (one in every seat) of Boston Borough Council, and 25 candidates were successful. Boston, for the first time in history, now has majority control by one Party.
We all still have an uphill challenge, but democracy has meant that Bostonians now have local Councillors to represent them who are in majority agreement: Boston has an urgent need for a bypass/distributor road/ring road – call it what you like.
The simple fact is, and remains, if you don’t ask for funding, you don’t get it. We must ask for funding, as a matter of urgency. The new democratically elected Borough Council are set on changing ‘political will’ to do just that. The case for a major road scheme for Boston has been summarily dismissed without any serious investigation or economic consideration of ‘value for money’.
I, as do all the campaigners, wish them every success, and really hope that Lincolnshire County Council will embrace the new Borough’s regime and work with them to produce a satisfactory outcome for everyone. The new Borough Council stated in their manifesto that they would block the road widening proposal currently being planned as a stop gap measure.
Chair, Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
14 May 2007