Objectors have vented their anger after a developer won its bid to build up to 480 homes on the edge of Grantham.
The plan by Allison Homes for the houses, a school and neighbourhood centre at Manthorpe, has caused controversy for several years.
Last year, the plan was refused by district councillors but the developer appealed and a government planning inspector has made the decision to approve the homes. Almost 1,000 people, many of them living near the site, objected to the plan. Their main concern was traffic.
They said that the main route into town, Manthorpe Road, was already choked with traffic at rush hour with queues of vehicles often stretching back to Manthorpe village from the junction with Belton Lane.
But district councillors were told they could not object on traffic grounds and last year refused the plan on heritage grounds.
Local district councillor Ray Wootten has supported residents in their objection to the plan. He said: “It was clear when this news was circulated through social media there was real anger in the community at this decision. Particular concerns are the traffic, which averages 10,600 vehicles daily driving down Manthorpe Road now, pollution and the lack of infrastructure, which in my opinion will result in more delays and also impact greatly on the villages of Great Gonerby and Manthorpe.”
Ian Parker, of Kingscliffe Road, said: “480 houses will most likely bring another 1,000 cars. Getting off the estate will be hell. I can’t see how anyone with an ounce of common sense has allowed this to happen.”
Another local resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “Clearly there must be some other factors not detailed which induced him (the inspector) to make such a decision – otherwise it makes no sense at all. How can one man go against the evidence of over 1,000 protesters?”
In his report Mr Parker said: “Many concerns have been raised in respect of the potential increase in traffic levels, highway safety, traffic junctions and local infrastructure. I saw during my site inspection that traffic in and out of Grantham on the A607 (Manthorpe Road) was congested, with traffic queuing on the road. This took place during the afternoon of the 30 November 2017; but it is not unreasonable to consider that such situations are likely to be commonplace and I am reinforced in this view by the numerous observations raised on this point by local residents.”
A spokesman for Allison Homes, part of The Larkfleet Group of Companies, said: “We are pleased that the planning inspector has supported our view that the plans for development which we put forward at the public inquiry will help to tackle the urgent need for more homes.
“Whilst this is a national issue, as emphasised in the Chancellor’s November Budget, it is also a local one and this decision will help meet the demand for new homes from Grantham’s own growing population.
“We have worked closely with the council and other interested parties over a number of years to plan a development that maximises the benefits to the community while minimising any potential adverse effects.
“Our plans not only include providing new homes for people being priced out of the local housing market but also a new primary school and local centre. They also include large areas of open space designed to provide amenity space, enhanced biodiversity and a sustainable drainage scheme. Another benefit is that before development can commence Allison Homes will pay for much-needed improvements to the Belton Lane/Gonerby Road junction.
“We were disappointed that we were not able to reach agreement with the council on our plans and that the matter therefore became the subject of a planning appeal.
“We note that the inspector concluded that there were no impacts from the development on heritage assets. Heritage impact was the sole reason for refusal of planning consent.
“Now that we have the inspector’s decision we will work closely with the council to make sure we deliver the best possible development for the town.”
To read the inspector’s full report go to acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk