A controversial plan for 26 apartments at Lodge Way in Grantham has been approved nine years after plans for the site were first put in.
A government inspector gave the go-ahead for the plan after an appeal was made by developer Hungerton Developments.
The applicant put forward two versions of the plan, one with a traditional look and the other more modern. The inspector approved the modern apartments, but not the traditional ones.
David Defusto, of Hungerton Developments, said: “It’s exciting to be up and running and we are keen to see the benefits of our investment, jobs creation and regeneration of a site to the benefit of Grantham. This is a great result for Grantham and testimony to the team that worked hard to bring this to fruition. If Grantham is to prosper it needs forward thinking developments that will attract people to the area.
He added: “It is just a pity that it has taken longer than it should to get to this point and if local politicians placed the needs of all of Grantham over parochial attitudes then we may be able to attract other first-class developments to Grantham.”
Councillors had previously turned down two other plans for the site on the corner of Lodge Way and Manthorpe Road, both of which were recommended for approval by officers at South Kesteven District Council.
The approved plan features 26 two-bedroom apartments over four floors with associated car parking.
Local councillor Ray Wootten has supported local residents who are furious at the plans and say the building is out of proportion with surrounding homes.
Coun Wootten said: “It has been nine long years of representing residents objecting to various designs to build on the site of 85 Manthorpe Road. I along with local residents in Lodge Way and neighbouring properties are extremely disappointed with the Planning Inspector’s decision to give permission for a modern design, which in our opinion is out of character with the surrounding area.
“This is a lost opportunity for a landmark design at a prominent gateway location to Grantham and only time will tell how this building and the doubling of traffic will integrate with Manthorpe Road.
“I am pleased that the planning inspector found our challenges justified and refused the applicant costs.”
In his report, the inspector said the developer’s modern scheme would cause ‘limited harm’ to surroundings and dismissing the plans would ‘run the risk of missing out on the benefits of additional housing and continuing to leave a derelict site.”
Chairman of Grantham Civic Society Courtney Finn said he was disappointed with the decision although he understood the reasons behind it.
He said: “We still think this is in the wrong position. Because of the height of the building, it was the wrong thing to do. A smaller scheme would have been more appropriate.”
Residents have said the building is too big and the junction with Manthorpe Road is already too busy and more traffic would be dangerous.
Jean Parker, who lives next to the site on Manthorpe Road, said: “I think we have missed an opportunity to put something up of real quality and aesthetic value in the town. There is nothing more we can do.”