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Residents speak out

Viewpoint - Boston's unexpected local election result is a vote of condence for people power

Born in Boston, Lincs, my brother Richard and I have always shared a disbelief that the infamous John Adams Way - a dual carriageway awash with traffic lights - was built through the heart of our market town.

'Only in Boston' is a phrase used many, many times.

Boston's traffic congestion, fuelled by housing expansion, has worsened over the last decade to the point of gridlock. The fire-siting of a major supermarket next to a railway crossing and the arrival of yet another set of traffic lights, have exacerbated the problem. On top of this, there is also a desperate lack of river crossings.

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 (LCC) still wants to continue to extend this road by widening Liquorpond Street - this running right outside people's terraced houses.

The council did not include a major scheme for Boston in its Local Transport Plan (LTP2) last year and, moreover, made an executive decision that Boston be placed on an 'aspirational list' and that 'no work be undertaken on any aspirational schemes during the whole of the LTP2 period'.

But 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 question - open and honest people who are also passionate about this cause and live the nightmare of traffic gridlock daily.

Evaluating the many snippets of evidence that have been given to us over the past few years, it is clear to me that politics have got in the way of Boston being provided with major road infrastructure and there appears to be an assumption that the general public is ignorant.

Our pressure group has tried on several occasions to meet with LCC to get it to listen to reason. Such is the strength of feeling locally that people now want to speak out. A lot of the evidence, including our own video 'Vox Popularis - Voice of the People', is on our website www. bbeg. org. uk.

At the local elections earlier this month, the Boston Bypass Independents, formed and led by councillor Richard Austin, managed to field 32 candidates (one in every seat) of Boston Borough Council, and 25 candidates were successful. Boston, for the first time in its history, now has majority control by one party.

We still face an uphill challenge, but democracy has meant that Bostonians now have a majority of councillors who agree that Boston urgently needs a bypass. The simple fact is if you don't ask for funding, you don't get it. We must ask for funding as a matter of urgency.

The new borough council is 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 it every success and really hope that LCC will embrace the borough's new regime and work with it to produce a satisfactory outcome for everyone.

Robert Fisher is chair of the Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group

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