Plot holders in talks over underpass plan

PUBLISHED: 16:53 15 November 2007 | UPDATED: 15:19 12 May 2010

TALKS between allotment holders and Herts County Council are beginning to resolve problems over the development of a £3 million underpass. The plan to develop the structure at Coombes Hole in Royston angered allotment holders because they believed plots w

TALKS between allotment holders and Herts County Council are beginning to resolve problems over the development of a £3 million underpass.

The plan to develop the structure at Coombes Hole in Royston angered allotment holders because they believed plots would be lost.

But there has now been talks between the Royston Allotments and Gardens Association and project manager Richard Boutal.

Speaking to members of Royston Town Council's general purposes and highways committee on Monday he said, however, that there were still "a lot of unknowns".

But he said he believed that any loss of allotment land would be temporary.

"We are still looking at arrangements which may not even effect the allotments," he said.

Mr Boutal said he had talked to residents in the area about the scheme and hoped that he had dispelled concerns about security.

The underpass will be equiped with adequate lighting and closed-circuit television cameras will be installed.

"We are still in the early stages and investigations are still on-going," he said.

But he insisted: "This will be a substantial structure. It is an underpass more than a subway."

The project is high on the list of county council schemes and talks are now taking place at County Hall about the estimated £3 million cost of the project.

There is the hope that a nationwide phone-in television vote will secure about £700,000 from the People's Millions Lottery.

This involves a number of projects around the country which will compete for a Lottery pay-out of more than £25 million in a winner-takes-all contest.

The public will be voting in December for one of the projects.

The underpass scheme is one of nearly 80 projects which has been put together under the umbrella of the transport charity Sustrans in its Connect2 package.

It will be Connect2 for which the public will be voting in the online and phone poll.

Work on the project is earmarked to being at Christmas 2009.

Cllr Bill Prime, a resident in Burns Road for the past 24 years, said: "It is evident that a crossing is vital.

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