Protesters say they are ‘not being listened to’ over the route for the A47 dualling project

PUBLISHED: 16:37 03 October 2018

Cllr David Johnson, Wansford Parish Council; Mrs Pauline Belton, villager; Mrs Jane Reid; Mr Robbie Reid; Mr Mick Grange standing outside the protesters

Cllr David Johnson, Wansford Parish Council; Mrs Pauline Belton, villager; Mrs Jane Reid; Mr Robbie Reid; Mr Mick Grange standing outside the protesters

Archant

Battle lines are being drawn up in the fight over the route for the A47 dualling project as protesters complain that they were not being listened to.

Mick Grange inside the protesters �battle-bus� indicating the wood with 300-400 year old oaks trees and the Highways England map that shows no wood exists. Picture: SUBMITTEDMick Grange inside the protesters �battle-bus� indicating the wood with 300-400 year old oaks trees and the Highways England map that shows no wood exists. Picture: SUBMITTED

Speaking from their double-decker ‘battle-bus’ in Wansford on Monday, they complained that Highways England were not listening to the views of locals or even common sense.

Landowner Robbie Reid, said: “I will be ‘Swampy 3’ if I have to – I’m determined that they get this right!”

Mr Mick Grange, chairman of the community consultancy team, said: “We don’t object to the dualling of the A47 – quite the opposite – but we want the proposed carriageway to run just a few meters further to the north of the route preferred by Highways England.

“This will save an ancient wood with many oak trees 300-400 years old, protect three separate bat roosts in nearby trees, nesting and breeding areas for both smooth and great crested newts, as well as multiple otter runs to the nearby river Nene”.

An elaborate series of brochures, maps, and even a computer-generated video showing how the scheme will look in the year 2037 have been prepared, and three options have been suggested.

Firstly to dual the existing road, secondly, the building of a new dual carriageway partly to the north and also to the south of the existing A47; and thirdly, building a new dual carriageway exclusively to the north of the existing A47.

None of the three options has yet been chosen, with public consultation due to run until November 12 2018.

Highways England favour the second option, building an dual carriageway from the A1/A47 junction at Wansford.

It would run north of the existing alignment for around 800m, before crossing the existing A47 where it will be constructed south of the existing alignment until it ties in with the dual carriageway at the Nene Way roundabout near Sutton.

Mr Robbie Reid, who for the past thirty years has farmed land immediately south of the existing A47 and to the east of Sutton Heath Road, stands to lose the most if the favoured proposal from Highways England is chosen as his property will be compulsory purchased.

“We are not a bunch of hippy tree-huggers with a grievance against a road across green-land. We do want the A47. But we also want it in the right place and for the right reasons,” he said.

Highways England and Heritage England were not available for comment at the time of the meeting held at The Haycock Hotel, Wansford.

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