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Housing plan for Watergate site in Grantham may include two-deck car park

Plans for 15 houses to be built on Watergate car park in Grantham were revealed this week.

And South Kesteven District Council says that its plans for the site include extra parking spaces, despite the housing that is proposed for the site.

The council says it is exploring the possibility of a two-deck car park to accommodate 130 cars. There are currently about 100 spaces on the site. Fifteen of those spaces would be set aside for residents of the townhouses built on the site.

A spokesman for the council said: “The lowest level is envisaged to be at the same level as the lowest point and the upper level being at roughly the same height as the highest point.”

Visuals of the multi-million-pound development were unveiled by SKDC member for growth, Coun Helen Goral. The artist’s impression of the 15 townhouses were revealed on a sign at its entrance.

Coun Goral said: “Town centre living helps create life and activity, increasing footfall and supporting the local economy. This project gives us the opportunity to provide a high-quality housing development without losing valuable parking spaces.

“High streets are changing and there is a pressing need to adapt our town centres. We are determined to ensure that Grantham moves forward offering a mix of modern living with access to all amenities.”

Coun Goral said proposals were at a very early stage and extensive consultation will take place with residents, businesses and users of the car park.

“It is important that we engage with people about our proposals,” she said. “We have some fantastic plans for Grantham town centre, but there will inevitably be some disruption as these improvements are brought forward.

“We are in discussion with St Wulfram’s Church to provide alternative parking arrangements through its development plans.”

Plans for the Watergate site come just a week after the council made major announcements about new multi-million-pound leisure centres across the district, including a high-quality indoor facility in Grantham town centre.

Coun Goral added: “Growth and growing the economy remain our top priorities and I believe they are the most important factors in helping Grantham realise its potential. That is why we are investing heavily to stimulate growth, including our new five-screen cinema which will open later this year, to make the town one of the finest places to live, work and visit.”

The council has been in discussions with St Wulfram’s Church because the car parking on the site will be lost while building work continues.

Fr Stuart Cradduck, rector of St Wulfram’s, said: “Car parking is an issue for St Wulfram’s as we continue to become a growing centre for the community. Our weekly provision relies upon a car park. We want to work openly with South Kesteven as they think about how they are going to provide temporary car parking.”

As part of its development plans, St Wulfram’s has been in discussions with the National Trust to use Grantham House for a number of activities.

A council spokesman said: “SKDC does not like the idea of the loss of car parking whilst this work takes place any more than those who use the current car park. That is why we are working hard, and are in discussion with third parties, to avoid this situation by providing a temporary solution.”

Two years ago the Watergate site had been pinpointed as a possible site for starter homes. Fr Stuart and ward councillor Ray Wootten both agreed there was a need for starter homes but that the car park was not the place for them.

This week Coun Wootten told the Journal: “In principal I welcome more housing in the town centre because they generate footfall for local services. It will mean more people will want to use the shops and pubs. I think it is the way forward to generate more business in the town centre.

“Having spoken to Father Stuart he has received reassurance from SKDC that lost car park spaces will be minimal and that whilst building work is being carried out alternative parking for those attending church can be organised.”

The council says it is undecided on whether any of the new houses will be starter homes. It says it is too early to say when the homes will be built, but the usual planning process will have to take place.

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