Approval for controversial 300-home plan for land off Barrowby Road in Grantham

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Plans to build 300 homes on the western edge of Grantham have been approved despite an attempt from councillors to turn them down.

Gladman Developments’ outline application to develop land to the south of Barrowby Road was approved by South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee after two-and-a-half hours of discussion at a meeting on Tuesday.

I wouldn’t sleep at night if I gave my support to this

Coun Helen Powell

But it faced opposition from a group of councillors who objected to the potential impact on highway safety, biodiversity and the character of the area. They also raised concerns about drainage and the lack of facilities in the area.

Coun Helen Powell proposed refusal, seconded by Coun Charmaine Morgan. Coun Powell said: “I cannot support this application. I have a number of concerns about 300 houses going in on a road that I can see is very dangerous, and another 600 children’s school places to be found which I think is a little steep.

“I wouldn’t sleep at night if I gave my support to this.”

Coun Morgan added: “The buffer zone with the A1 is key to the character of the area. People do not want to live in some ghastly urban sprawl.

“This site is wooded. If it was farmer’s fields then I actually would have less of a concern. The site has swamp which makes it quite rare and special.”

The opposition was echoed by several councillors, but business manager for development management and implementation Dylan Jones told the committee that the reasons for refusal would not be supported if the developer appealed the decision.

He said the various consultees, including Lincolnshire County Council’s highways department, Anglian Water and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust had no problem with the plans.

A vote to refuse planning permission failed, with six councillors in favour, nine against and one abstention.

The site was set aside for development in the district council’s core strategy, which determines where development should take place.

Coun Michael King urged the committee to approve the application or risk failing to meet the Government’s required five-year housing supply in the district.

He said: “We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the core strategy does say Grantham is the major growth centre in the district. I do think that a lot of these concerns can be sorted out in the reserved matters application.

“We need to think about the repercussions of not allowing development.”

Robert Gaskell, speaking for the developer, said the number of homes had been reduced by 15 per cent after public consultation. He said the developer would commit funding towards school places and health provision for new residents. Directly to the west of the site is a rehabilitation centre at The Heathers, run by Paul Toon. Speaking at the meeting, Mr Toon raised concerns about the proximity of houses to people at the centre who had recently come out of prison or were “desperate” for drugs.

Some councillors were sympathetic to Mr Toon’s concerns and suggested the developer should take extra security measures. But committee chairman Coun Martin Wilkins said security on Mr Toon’s property was his responsibility.

And Vicky Burrows, who lives in nearby Fairview Cottages, raised concerns about the highways implications and said the site was a “haven for wildlife”.

Planning permission was eventually granted with a vote of 11 in favour and five against. A recommendation to Lincolnshire County Council to reduce the proposed speed limit past the site from 40mph to 30mph was also made.

A reserved matters application will need to be approved before development can take place.