Grimsby

“They’ve declared war” angry campaigners respond to Tollbar decision

Angry campaigners say council leaders at North East Lincolnshire have “declared war” on residents after giving the go-ahead for £2.2 million changes to Toll Bar roundabout.

Members of the cabinet left the chamber to angry shouts, including calls for councillors to resign after they agreed that installing an underpass or overpass at the junction was not a suitable alternative – thereby giving the original scheme (a traffic lights system) the go-ahead.

Roger Breed, who leads the campaign to save the roundabout from being replaced, said following the meeting that he was astounded by the decision.

“I’m not being overly-dramatic, but I think they’ve just declared war on the public,” he said.

Local people turned out in protest against the controversial traffic management plans including Roger Breed (right). Photo: Daniel Jaines for Lincolnshire Reporter

Those against the petition argued today that the council had not listened to the public and denied the statistics regarding children’s safety, traffic and pollution were incorrect.

Campaigners instead believe children will be more at risk from the move and say that businesses are already threatening closure.

However, Mr Breed said they were going to continue fighting.

“When the contractors turn up to start closing roads I think they’re going to be in for a hot reception,” he said. “It’s not going to be welcomed at all.”

He said campaigns would continue outside the town hall but would not go so far as to say they would be protesting at the building site itself.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s cabinet.

However, council leader Ray Oxby says he is confident the council has listened to residents, looked at all the options and gathered enough evidence to support the authority’s decision.

He said the council had chosen the “most reasonable, practicable” option from the evidence that had been laid out before them and the grant money they had.

“We’ve taken legal advice, the top barrister, who says all avenues of governance have been exhausted, to the point now where any further challenge would be disproportionate to cost and we’ve also got a strong evidence case.”

He said differences of statistics were down to “different time frames of accidents” but added: “Overall, the accidents are there to demonstrate there is a problem that needs to be controlled.”

Audience members listen to the meeting.

Councillor Oxby said he had listened to residents, including calling the working group to look at issues, and that it had been through complex levels of scrutiny but reiterated: “There was no evidence there was an alternative scheme.”

Councillor Oxby said works would be started “as soon as possible” but said he wanted to avoid disrupting residents and businesses to minimise disruption.

The work on Toll Bar is one of a series of pinchpoints being looked at in response to a Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership review, with Nun’s Corner also undergoing some improvements.

Councillor Oxby said the authority could now move on to looking at the remaining issues.