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Developers are 'letting the people of Grantham down', claims councillor

Developers are “letting the people of Grantham down,” claims a local councillor.

Grantham councillor Richard Davies, who is executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, says developers have not kept promises to provide infrastructure such as play areas, footpaths and cycle ways.

He adds that roads have remained uncompleted and therefore could not be adopted by the council, but now says he has “clearly underestimated the scale of the problem”.

New homes at Poplar Farm, Grantham. (46431966)
New homes at Poplar Farm, Grantham. (46431966)

He said: “The significant issue is about the enforcement of planning conditions, for example section 106 agreements [which are obligations for developers to contribute to infrastructure and facilities]. Across the town, while the details vary the story is the same; people have bought houses with the clear understanding and expectation that services such as parks, footpaths, speed limits, crossings, community facilities, etc would be delivered – however they have never materialised.

“Examples include missing footpaths to connect roads and cycle ways, failing and poor quality road surfaces, lack of grit bins, no localised speed limited.”

Coun Davies says he has met with South Kesteven District Council, which is the planning authority enforcement team.

He added: “They have identified breaches of formal planning agreements on Poplar Farm. I am really pleased SKDC are taking this so seriously and we are starting to see some benefits from their formal warning. On Poplar Farm the developers have agreed a timetable for finishing roads and play areas over the next three months, however I am worried that the developers will again renege on their promises.

“Frankly, the developers and landowners have let the people of Grantham down, they’ve promised a huge range of facilities and community benefits and developers such as Bellway have behaved in a scandalous manner.

“I believe it raises serious questions over the reliability of agreements in other locations such as Rectory Farm and Spittlegate Level. Having so spectacularly broken their promises in North West Grantham, can we trust them in South East Grantham?”

Developers on Poplar Farm defended the work they are doing. A spokesperson for Bellway said: “As a responsible developer, Bellway has worked with the local authority and the landowner to complete all of its work at the development off Balmoral Drive in Grantham. Any remaining works to be completed on the scheme is to be undertaken by other stakeholders involved in the project.”

A spokesperson for David Wilson Homes East Midlands said: “Following remedial works, several roads at our Newton’s Place development are now complete and are due to be approved by the local authority highways department.

“Essential works on the remaining roads are ongoing, some of which have been delayed to avoid damage to the surface whilst heavy machinery is in use. The works have been agreed with the council and are scheduled to be completed in early June ahead of a 12-month assessment period and final inspection.

“As per the planning agreement, our section 106 contributions are being paid directly to South Kesteven District Council who will decide how these are best invested for the benefit of the local community.”

A spokesperson for SKDC said: “Officers at South Kesteven District Council have been working with the Poplar Farm developers and have recently received assurances that outstanding issues such as the provision of play equipment and links from the new streets, foot and cycle paths will be addressed in the coming months. Progress will be monitored by the council’s planning enforcement
team. Issues around the adoption and standards of roads on the development will be subject to separate agreements between the developers and the county council, as the highways authority.

“Section 106 legal agreements that underpin many of the obligations placed on developers throughout the planning process have evolved significantly since the agreements were signed for Poplar Farm in 2011.

“Planning permissions for large developments generally now have tighter conditions and additional safeguards written into Section 106 agreements.”

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