Two designs for 26 apartments on the corner of Grantham’s Manthorpe Road and Lodge Way were both refused planning permission by South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee on Tuesday.
Both a traditional and modern design were put forward by Hungerton Developments for construction at 85 Manthorpe Road, opposite the junction with Belton Lane.
It follows two previous applications – one for 24 apartments in 2007, and another for 22 in 2010 – that were refused by SKDC and on appeal. Committee member Councillor Rosemary Kaberry-Brown said: “I can’t believe that this application is before us again. I sat on the planning committee for the first two applications and on both occasions it was refused because we felt it had to be a lot less number of apartments. Something like a recommendation of 12 to 14.”
Among the public speakers was Trevor Burdon, a Lodge Way resident for over 20 years. “With 26 apartments the developer has taken no account of local views and the decisions of elected councillors – it seems to be almost a disregard for the democratic process,” he said.
There was consensus among the many residents at the meeting that while in favour of the site’s development, these schemes were too large.
Veronica Wheeler said: “Local residents all agree that the site needs to be developed but it must be done in a sympathetic way that complements the local area. This application does not do that. It is totally out of keeping, overpowering, intrusive, and an ugly overdevelopment.”
Another concern was the impact on nearby listed buildings, including St Wulfram’s Church. Grantham Civic Society’s John Manterfield said: “The appearance of any development must be an enhanced design of first-class quality and should be one of which future generations will be proud. These proposals are not sufficiently inspiring for this site at the entrance to a Conservation Area.”
In response, Adam Partington of Locus Consulting argued that a ‘low negative impact on the setting of heritage assets’ had been identified. There was also debate over whether the building should be assimilated into the street scene or if the aim was to make a ‘statement’ building.
Keith Clark of CBP Architects said: “This is a corner plot facing open space and an expansive open junction with crossing point which commands a building of calibre and genuine gateway building.
In addition residents and councillors questioned the highway authority’s lack of objection to the plans. Addressing the committee as a public speaker, Coun Ray Wootten said: “There are an estimated 1,900 vehicles travelling at peak time along Manthorpe Road. I challenge the committee to travel along Manthorpe Road and attempt to turn right into Lodge Way because you will find a yellow box with no right turn access.”
Members of the committee also challenged the viability assessment which concluded that any affordable housing contribution would make the developments unviable, with Coun Michael King demanding to see evidence of abnormal costs as justification.
Despite both being recommended for approval by the planning officer, the traditional-style application was refused by 14 to 1, and the modern design refused by a vote of 12 to 1.