The Village > Village History
Written Autumn 2003
A Little Local History
I was quite amused to see the Proper Gander on the front of the summer edition. What I was not prepared for was the continuation of the propaganda theme in the editorial item concerning the new footpath. But the words used were apposite for the situation. “We must push to get a footpath down one of the lanes”. As a resident in Willow Lane I can assure everyone that getting anything down one of the lanes requires a great deal of pushing. Between the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (the hours of the grand prix) push becomes shove!
Only at certain places in each of the lanes is it possible for two vehicles to pass each other. The drivers who already mount the footpath in Willow Lane to enable them to pass cars coming toward them will no doubt welcome the provision of additional width in the form of a footpath elsewhere. To watch two large cars, one using the footpath to pass the other, whilst children are standing back on the path and waiting is to observe nature in the raw.
The end of the Ferry Road footpath at Willow Lane is a danger spot for children. I am told that a gentleman, who is a careful and considerate driver, was suddenly confronted as he reached the junction at the end of the lane by two small children who had run off of the end of the Ferry Road footpath into the lane in front of him. Because he was driving carefully he was able to stop. Had the worst occurred how would the blame have been apportioned? We have a big problem which has been caused by a succession of people and organisations which have acted without any consideration or understanding of the outcome of their actions. The problem goes backto the days of Lincolnshire Council. When it was announced that there was to be a big Oil Refinery built at Killingholme they decided that they must obtain land and build Council Houses for the workers. They bought the land upon which the school and the playing field now stand and the fields through to Horsegatefield Road.
Wisely they announced that they would straighten Willow Lane and make an access road for the housing estate that they intended to create. We visited Goxhill at this time. We saw the signs in the lane and the plan; this showed that if anything the road would be a little further from the front of the house so we decided to live here. The fact that oil refineries do not have large numbers of workers and that those that are employed there are well paid and able to choose and purchase homes for themselves was bad news for the County Council. The houses were not built but the land remained. When the new school was needed this land was available and so the school was built there. We waited for the road alterations but nothing happened. Years passed, in the lanes bungalows were built and gardens laid out, eventually the council confirmed that there was no longer any intention tostraighten Willow Lane.
Already there was a problem in the lanes. None of them were wide enough for the steadily increasing volume of traffic. More and more houses were built many households had two or more cars. One particularly harrowing experience happened when a car full of young people lost control and tried to enter the premises through the hedge at speed. Moments later coming in the other direction an elderly lady pushed a gentleman along the road in a wheelchair. Both were oblivious of their narrow escape. I suggested to the Parish and North Lincolnshire Councils that a one way system for all of the lanes would solve problems in the lanes and at the blind junctions. I had police support for this. Unfortunately the Parish Council decided to carry out a poll of the people whom they considered might be affected. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas and the idea was voted down. Meanwhile the North Lincolnshire Council was considering the matter seriously but with the Parish Council now rejecting the idea they had to drop it.
Well that is how we got to the situation we are now in. Development and house building go on. We are proud of the success of our school in attracting increasing numbers of pupils. It is a fact that the flow of talented people into the village has enriched it enormously, but we have a traffic problem. I am sure that we should all be prepared to consider properly thought out solutions to this situation. Children should not have to compete with cars to get to and from school.
Unfortunately unspecified and fragmented suggestions of a “Push to get a path down one of the lanes” will not help. Which lane, where, how wide, which side? Is there a plan or is it a pipe dream? Now there may be points to be won but you do not get them by spinning or propaganda. “Cool Speak” for To Have a Look used to be To Have a Gander. We need a proper look at the problem so would that be a Proper Gander?