Grantham relief road plans under fire at High Court

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Multi-million pound plans for a new relief road to ease Grantham’s traffic congestion are under fire at London’s High Court.

One of the country’s top judges, Mrs Justice Lang, is being asked by a Grantham landowner to quash the planning permission for the road, on the basis that the full environmental impact into the scheme has not properly been considered along with plans for up to 4,000 new homes that the road will serve.

Larkfleet Ltd had initially been refused permission for a full hearing of its bid to have South Kesteven District Council’s grant of planning permission for the relief road to the south of Grantham quashed. However, the Court of Appeal later ruled that the challenge could after all go ahead.

The company’s barrister, Martin Kingston QC, told the judge that the Grantham Southern Quadrant Link Road (SQLR) will unlock an “urban extension” to the south of Grantham, known as the Southern Quadrant (SQ).

He argued that the proposals for the link road and the housing development have “emerged in parallel since 2008”, and that neither one could proceed without the other. As a result, he said that the environmental consequences of both schemes should have been considered together.

He said that they were acknowledged to have “significant cumulative environmental effects taken in combination with each other”, but that when an Environmental Impact Assessment for the road was carried out, it treated the link road as an isolated “project.” He said it had recognised the need for cumulative effects of both projects to be considered, it did so in a very broad way with not enough information about what the housing development was likely to involve.

And he claimed that, whilst the cumulative effects will fall to be considered again when the housing development is itself subjected to environmental impact assessment, it would by that stage be too late for the Council to make alterations to the link road plan to mitigate or eliminate any environmental problems discovered.

As a result, he claimed that the Council’s decision to grant permission for the link road was contrary to its obligations under European Regulations.

Larkfleet has interests in land in Manthorpe, which it champions as an alternative location for urban extension of Grantham.

Lawyers representing South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council will argue that the environmental effects of the link road were properly considered and that the permission should stand.

The judge is expected to reserve her decision after two days of complex legal argument, and to give a judgment in writing at a later date.