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Is this ‘the worst road in Britain?’




South Fen Road in Bourne has been branded 'the worst road in Britain' by Bourne South and Thurlby county councillor Robert Reid. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG291217-208TW.
South Fen Road in Bourne has been branded 'the worst road in Britain' by Bourne South and Thurlby county councillor Robert Reid. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG291217-208TW.

Pressure is growing for major repairs to be carried out on a country lane between Tongue End and Bourne branded as “the worst road in Britain”.

South Fen Road, nicknamed ‘The Gauntlet’ by national newspaper The Sun because of its potholes, cracks and muddy verges, has been a regular site for repairs by county highways engineers for years.

But with any further improvements unlikely until April at the earliest, drivers who use South Fen Road and community representatives for both Tongue End and Bourne have shared their concerns with the Free Press.

Coun William Rodwell, chairman of Deeping St Nicholas Parish Council (which serves Tongue End), said: “South Fen Road isn’t actually in the parish, but it has an impact on Tongue End because lorries are causing problems for residents through noise and speed.

“They are also damaging the road that links Pode Hole to Baston, through Tongue End, which also carries many gravel lorries who use it as a ‘rat run’ from the A15 and Peterborough to the west of Spalding.

“In addition, South Fen Road is used by drivers coming from Spalding with speeding cars.”

Bourne South and Thurlby county councillor Robert Reid.''Photo supplied.
Bourne South and Thurlby county councillor Robert Reid.''Photo supplied.

new Western Relief Road to reduce this ever-increasing problem.

“South Fen Road itself is built on a peat subsoil which has always been a problem because the sides of the road fall away and it is nearly impossible to remedy this natural decay.”

Coun Elizabeth Sneath, whose Spalding Elloe county council ward includes Tongue End, said: “Over the past few months, many residents have contacted me about the state of the road.

“I have even been driven along South Fen Road by some residents to demonstrate its problems and the particular physical features of this area of the Fens does lead to many problems with road surfaces and edges when a narrow road is well used by both cars and heavy lorries.

Former Mayor of Bourne, Coun Colin Pattison. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG230217-316TW.
Former Mayor of Bourne, Coun Colin Pattison. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG230217-316TW.

“I have always reported these issues to the highways department and been assured that when resources are available, it will carry out further repairs and, hopefully, improvements to this well-used stretch.”

A number of businesses are located in South Fen Road, including Bourne’s Household Waste Recycling Centre and B.W. Riddle metal recycling plant.

Coun Colin Pattison, former Mayor of Bourne between 2016 and 2017, said: “The state of South Fen Road was brought to my attention at a recent meeting of Bourne Town Council, although I’ve known all my life that it’s not a great road.

“Because it’s built on black peat, the road expands in wet weather and contracts when it’s dry and hot.

“It’s also an agricultural road that’s used by a lot of heavy lorries and all these things together have a bearing on the road.”

Pressure on county highways officers to repair South Fen Road has been led by Bourne South and Thurlby county councillor Robert Reid who said: “It’s the worst road in Britain but Lincolnshire County Council won’t do anything more than minor, temporary repairs to it.

“The highways department has identified that the road is in such a mess that it’s been included in the county council’s major capital expenditure programme for the next financial year.

“But it doesn’t start until April and, in my opinion, I feel that South Fen Road is dangerous and the council has a duty to ensure that highways are safe.”

A county highways spokesman said: “We are aware of the comments that have been made about South Fen Road and have repaired several potholes and damaged edges along the road over the last few years.

“The most recent work there was carried out in August but it is likely that further improvements will be carried out in future, depending on the resources available.”

• Is South Fen Road the worst in Britain? Email your letters to jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk



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