Councillors fail to reach decision on plans for 55 homes on former allotment land in Grantham

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After an hour’s discussion and three votes councillors were unable to decide for or against a plan to build 55 homes on former allotment land off Beacon Lane.

The plans were originally for 43 homes and were rejected by South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee. However that decision was overturned at appeal in 2009 with the planning inspector saying it had been demonstrated that there were no further need for the allotment facilities.

The committee heard that the allotments had become overgrown in the years since.

The development had been approved by the planning inspector but the developer was back before councillors as it wished to increase the number of houses being built from 43 to 55 and cut the number of affordable homes from 12 to eight.

Mark Mann, speaking on behalf of developers Yelcon Homes, said: “The nature of the market has substantially changed. In terms of viability, the current scheme is not viable.

“That’s largely the reason the amount of affordable homes has been changed.”

Coun Charmaine Morgan led the calls for the scheme to be rejected.

She said: “The entrance will be located on one of the busiest areas in Grantham at the junction of Stonebridge Road, Beacon Lane and Sandon Road.

“It is absolutely solid every, single morning with traffic that goes all the way up New Beacon Road.”

Coun Mark Ashberry said he feared the development could prompt an increase in traffic accidents.

He said: “The chance of serious accidents will be significantly heightened when this development gets built. I hope it doesn’t happen.”

Coun Jacky Smith proposed the application be approved, describing the state of the current plot as a “very sad sight”, but was voted down 8-2 with two abstentions.

Before a vote against the proposal was held councillors were warned that by going against the views of the officers “the council could suffer financially as a result”.

Councillors were also warned they must take part in a recorded vote and, as part of a “cooling off period” anyone voting against the wishes of the officers must provide detailed reasons in writing within five days.

Following the warnings, the vote in favour of rejecting the proposal was also lost, 5-6 with five abstentions.

Councillors were left with little choice but to vote to defer any decision until a later date which was passed by 15 votes to one.