Grantham’s Watergate car park put forward as potential starter homes development
Objectors have told the district council to leave a town centre car park alone after it was included in a document proposing areas for development of starter homes.
The Watergate car park has been used as an example of a site which could be used to build starter homes as part of a scheme in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
South Kesteven District Council has been selected as a pilot area for the provision of starter homes with the HCA which provides funding as part of the process.
Other areas put forward as potential sites for starter houses are the recreation ground off Campbell Close in Grantham and West Road car park in Billingborough.
The council insists the areas nominated are only examples of potential sites.
But the inclusion of the Watergate car park in the document has raised concerns as people visiting St Wulfram’s Church, local businesses, shops and schools regularly use the car park.
Fr Stuart Cradduck, rector of St Wulfram’s, said: “I agree we do need more starter homes in Grantham, but I think this is the wrong place. It would have a detrimental effect on the church, not just Sunday services but also funerals when we can expect between 200 and 400 people, and all our weddings. We have visitors to St Wulfram’s from all over the country and abroad and they need places to park. I feel there is a lack of joined up thinking on this.”
Fr Stuart said last year the church attracted 25,607 tourists and pilgrims and just over 28,000 people to occasional services such as weddings and funerals.
Ward councillor Ray Wootten said: “We need starter homes but to suggest a well used car park is built on when we are also trying to attract visitors to the St Wulfram’s heritage area cannot be right. Where are they all going to park? It’s bonkers.”
An SKDC spokesperson said: “This will be a good opportunity to work with the support of Government funding to develop homes for first time buyers on land in public ownership. The scheme gives potential first time buyers under 40 the opportunity of buying a home at 20 per cent less than the market value.
“The examples included in the report show the range of sites that could be considered through this initiative over a period of time.
“Some of the land owned by the council is being actively used and so may not be suitable for development in the near future. There will be a need to carefully consider the full impact of each option on local communities and at this point in time there are no specific plans in place to develop any individual site.
“Consideration of potential sites in the future will be subject to formal decision making and the usual planning processes.“