Councillor slams report which says land on edge of Grantham can be developed

Ray Wootten - Conservative ENGEMN00120130516114214
Ray Wootten - Conservative ENGEMN00120130516114214
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A councillor has criticised a report which says land next to the Manthorpe estate in Grantham is suitable for development.

At a meeting of the district council’s Cabinet this morning, ward Councillor Ray Wootten said the Grantham Capacity Study contradicted earlier reports which have said the impact of hundreds of houses on Manthorpe Road would mean housing there would not be appropriate.

The report by AECOM says there is land around Grantham which is potentially suitable for the development of more than 15,000 homes. It says the land between Manthorpe estate and the electricity pylons crossing the adjacent field would be suitable for development.

Bourne-based developer Larkfleet says it wants to build 550 homes on that site. South Kesteven District Council has commissioned the report as it prepares a new Local Plan for the district.

In addressing the Cabinet, Coun Wootten said: “I am here today to speak on behalf of my residents as ward councillor for Grantham St Wulfram’s and Grantham North Ward which covers the area off the Manthorpe Estate as mentioned in the Grantham Capacity Study page 22 and 70.

“It is clear from reading this report that consultants are recommending that Area 1 south of the pylons off Belton Lane is suitable for development and that any transport impact can be mitigated. In 2010 consultants CABE stated in their report and I quote ‘We see nothing in this proposal that distinguishes it as a sustainable development or an exemplar edge of town scheme to justify the release of their Greenfield land’.

“So you have two different consultants with opposing views. The secretary of state upheld the decision of the Planning Inspector who considered that one of the main considerations with relevance to the development was its impact on the highway network. The Department for Transport own figures for traffic count state that the average daily flow on the A607 in 2014 entering Grantham was 14,172 which results daily in long traffic queues along the Manthorpe Road as far back as Belton Lane. That figure is only 700 less than on the A52 near the barracks and considered high enough for a relief road - no such relief for my residents.

“Lincolnshire County Council commissioned a report by Jacobs which stated that 792 vehicles went southbound on Manthorpe Road at peak times, so if you add another 300 from a development of for example 500 homes then you would have gridlock and severe delays.

“When there is a closure of the A1, which happens frequently, it is impossible to get into town because of re-routed traffic. On a recent closure of the A1 a resident contacted me at 8.15am stating that he was stuck on the Manthorpe Estate in a queue. At 9am he emailed from his car that he had given up and returned home. This is the real world that my residents live in.

“In addition, the Priory Ruskin Academy has grown over the past two years from 600 pupils to 1,300 causing more delays in the area. Those who say they should cycle or walk should see the traffic queues caused by parents dropping their children off at school.

“The Impact on Heritage was noted within this report and at the previous application with nearby Belton House and Park, but also any development would impact on the setting of St Wulfram’s Church Spire, a Grade 1 Heritage Asset.

Added to this is a statement from The National Grid confirming that the electricity pylons would be retained in situ. I ask you who would want to buy a home near power cables which are known to effect people’s health. Also of concern is air quality on Manthorpe Road and Brook Street due to heavy traffic congestion which was reported to you at a previous cabinet meeting as higher than normal.

“Mr Chairman not only do I have concerns about an increase of traffic and the effect on local Heritage – but we are talking about capacity here. What about the disposal of sewage? I understand the Marston Pumping Station cannot cope with extra capacity. This authority already has plans for 4,000 homes for the southern quadrant and 1,800 for Poplar Farm which could expand our population from 40,000 to 60,000 by 2020. Just how will the infrastructure cope? Where are the extra emergency services, the police, fire service and ambulances going to come from to serve this increase? All are already stretched to the limit.

“Mr Chairman, hundreds of residents signed a petition against a previous application on the Manthorpe Estate within two week period, so I know that should an application for planning be submitted residents will vigorously opposed it and I will support them.”