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Grantham Journal letter: Pennine Way link must be built – where are all the contributions?

The railway bridge to connect Pennine Way to Great Gonerby continues to be a condition of the original planning permission given for the Poplar Farm estate in 2009 when I attended the planning meeting.

It took until May 2011 for the section 106 [developer contribution] agreement to be finalised on the basis that an average levy of about £14,000 per house was to be collected to raise over £7m for the railway bridge to be commenced when the 750th house was completed and sold

The actual contributions vary according to the agreement and range from £1,554 for the first 600 houses to over £15,700 per house for the final 300 or so houses.

Letters (8835878)
Letters (8835878)

With the new school taking in the region of £4m of the contributions, the council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan (in page 31 of the document) declared that the railway bridge is at risk because contributions are insufficient to deliver the link.

The council’s record of dealing with Network Rail on bridges and relief roads is not too good but the importance of the Pennine Way link remains as strong now as when the Poplar Farm estate was approved.

Can we please have an explanation from SKDC or Lincolnshire County Council as to what is happening about the bridge and to all those contributions that were supposed to make it happen?

At no point over the years have I seen a planning application to change or amend the original section 106 conditions.

Even if the 1,800 or so houses which received planning permission are not built I understand the bridge still has to be built by the landowner/s yet it all seems a bit of a grey area.

The SKDC Local Plan has lots of fine words to say about improving transport options including an efficient and safe transport network.

The Pennine Way link was always intended to be part of the network. What is going to happen? At current house building rates when can we expect to see the construction of the railway bridge started and has anybody agreed it all with Network Rail?

No doubt the £7m estimated cost of the bridge in 2009 has gone up a bit by now. Did somebody think about this when the section 106 numbers were finalised in 2011?

If there are insufficient funds going to be generated from the Poplar Farm estate perhaps the Rectory Farm estate could contribute?

Without the connectivity provided by a Pennine Way bridge, was the original Muddle Go Nowhere named pub an inspired choice?

Courtney Finn

Chairman, Grantham Civic Society

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