Councillors clash over Gainsborough junction improvements

The junction of Thorndike Way and Corringham Road in Gainsborough.
The junction of Thorndike Way and Corringham Road in Gainsborough.

A district council leader and leading Lincolnshire county councillor have clashed over improvements to a Gainsborough junction and objections to a major housing development in the town.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council Jeff Summers has proposed to write to the county council demanding they agree a scheme and timetable of works for the junction of the A631 Thorndike Way and Corringham Road in Gainsborough.

His motion to fellow councillors also criticises the county council for raising highway safety concerns over a planned 750 home development north of the junction, claiming that they should be making the turn-off safer “as a matter of urgency” anyway.

However, the purpose of his motion has been called into question by Councillor Richard Davies, who is responsible for highways at Lincolnshire County Council.

Councillor Davies said he was “puzzled” by the point of it, adding that both councils were already working together with the developer to agree their financial contributions to the potential junction improvements.

In his motion, which will be debated by West Lindsey District Council’s Full Council at a meeting in Gainsborough on Monday, April 9, Councillor Summers will say: “The junction of Thorndike Way and Corringham Road is unsafe. There have been seven serious accidents in the last few years.

“This junction is in the top five priority highway safety schemes, but Lincolnshire County Council is unable to confirm when and how it will rectify this.

“Instead, Lincolnshire County Council has raised objections in response to a planning application for the Northern Neighbourhood citing highway safety at this junction as an issue.

“The county council cannot use existing highway safety concerns as the basis of objecting to planned growth as the junction is already dangerous, contributes significantly to accidents on these roads and should be made safer as a matter of urgency.”

In response, Councillor Davies acknowledged there had been “issues” with the junction, but that the county council had already made several improvements to reduce the number of serious accidents.

He also insisted that the council had not objected to the Northern Neighbourhood development, but wanted the applicant to pay for the highways improvements and for them to be finished before people moved into the new homes.

Councillor Davies said: “For the district council to allow such a substantial development to go ahead without asking the developer to do something to mitigate the impact of the extra traffic would clearly be a backward step.

“So we have not objected to the development, but have asked West Lindsey District Council to make highways improvements a condition of the planning permission.

“In our opinion, it’s only right that the developer foots the bill for those improvements and we would also want to see the changes made before the houses are occupied.

“Our officers recently met with their West Lindsey District Council counterparts to discuss this, and there seemed to be agreement that this was the best way forward. And it is our understanding the developer is now designing those potential improvements.

“Given that everyone already appears to be working together on this, I have to say I am somewhat puzzled as to the point of Councillor Summers’ motion.”