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Grantham must grow to keep and improve services

Grantham must grow to 65,000 people to keep and improve its services.

Coun Mike King, cabinet member for economy and environment, made the comment as South Kesteven District Council approved its draft Local Plan last week.

The Local Plan calls for more than 15,000 homes to be built across South Kesteven by 2036, including 3,700 at Spitalgate Heath.

Coun King told the annual meeting: “We need a higher population to support better facilities. Grantham has 40,000 people now but we would like to be 65,000. If we can grow the population, that will allow Grantham to support better facilities.”

Coun King also said a district hospital needs a population of 250,000: “We need to grow Grantham. That is what we are going to do.”

But Coun Ian Selby responded: “I would argue we have the population to justify the A&E.”

The meeting also saw Labour councillor Phil Dilks note policy was changing so that future schemes include 30 per cent of homes for affordable housing, instead of the current ‘up to 35 per cent’. He also noted a lack of one-bed homes.

Cabinet member for communities, Nick Neilson, said he shared such concerns:“We are looking to present our own schemes before Christmas. SKDC owns 45 pieces of land. We are carrying out an analysis. Part of that project we are working on is looking at single accommodation units throughout the district.”

Coun King said SKDC is reducing its demanded share of affordable housing to ‘make schemes more attractive, which should see more homes built overall and boost social housing numbers’.

The council is still negotiating with developer Buckminster over the Spitalgate Heath scheme, which has outline planning approval. If SKDC can get its “full quota” that would be 1,000 affordable homes. But Buckminster says it cannot provide this as it must contribute towards the Southern Relief Road .

Coun King added: “We
have been clear that zero affordable housing is unacceptable.”


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