Grantham still needs to grow...despite delays

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The Grantham Area Action Plan - heavily criticised earlier this month by Planning Inspector Roland Punshon - may be floundering but the principle of growth is still very much alive and kicking.

Buckminster Estate, which owns large swathes of the land set to be developed, has a positive outlook on Mr Punchon’s report and the future of the Grantham Area Action Plan.

A spokesman for Buckminster said: “Buckminster note the comments made by the Planning Inspector in relation to the GAAP. We are pleased to see that the Planning Inspector was happy with the principle of the Southern Quadrant urban extension where Buckminster is the majority landowner.

“Buckminster is working hard with SKDC and LCC to progress the Southern Quadrant for which the Masterplan is already out for public consultation. Approval for the masterplan is anticipated in early 2013 allowing SKDC and LCC, in conjunction with Buckminster, to move to the next stages of the development, including delivery of the much needed southern relief road, to ensure a reduction in traffic in the town centre.”

Buckminster remains keen to avoid the district council resorting to a “Plan B” in the face of the Planning Inspector’s comments after Mr Punshon deemed the current plans “unfit for purpose” and an “inherently unsound development plan document”.

The Buckminster Estate spokesman said: “With the Planning Inspector’s comments in mind that a contingency plan for residential development may be required Buckminster will continue to work hard to avoid the need for any “Plan B” by achieving Masterplan approval and preparing for a planning application for the Southern Quadrant.”

Karl Hick, managing director of developer Larkfleet Homes, said Mr Punshon’s report made “very disappointing reading”.

He added: “Disappointing not just because of the individual points Mr Punshon makes, but chiefly because the inevitable delay as the plan is revised is a delay to the much needed growth of the town.”

However, Mr Hick makes clear that Larkfleet “wants to be part of the dialogue” and “welcomes the council’s commitment to work with developers to deliver the very best outcomes for the town”.

Mr Hick added: “What matters now is that developers and the council sit down quickly and work together to address comprehensively and coherently the points the Inspector has made.

“We know that the town needs homes for our people and that the construction of those homes will unlock new infrastructure and new jobs that will benefit us all.”