Plans for a 3,200 home development in Lincoln including a shopping centre, primary school, leisure facilities and a new football stadium, have been approved by councillors.
The Labour-led City of Lincoln Full Council sat as a planning committee on Wednesday night, when councillors voted to approve the proposals.
Known as the Western Growth Corridor, the city council and landowners Lindum Western Growth Community Ltd want to develop the 240-hectare site to the north of Skellingthorpe Road.
The plans faced opposition from residents, Conservative-led Lincolnshire County Council – who have asked the government to call in the plans – and Lincoln’s Conservative MP Karl McCartney, with the main concerns being around transport and flooding.
The Western Growth Corridor, set to the north of Skellingthorpe Road, is one of Lincoln’s four Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) to allow the Central Lincolnshire area to provide for both housing and employment growth until 2036.
The full proposals include:
Up to 3,200 homes, with a local centre comprising of retail and commercial units and a new primary school
A commercial employment area of up to 20 hectares
A regional sport and leisure complex, including a new stadium, health and leisure facilities, a hotel and ancillary food and drink elements
Full details can be found here.
The site has previously been subject to applications for 4,500 and 5,100 home, but these were withdrawn.
The City of Lincoln Council says the development is “key to meeting the objectives of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan and ensuring the continued growth and success of the city.”
Officers are confident mitigation plans are in place to tackle issues caused to traffic and to deal with flooding concerns.
“The assessment made within your report clearly sets out the benefits of the proposal in delivery against the local plan allocation and the planning balance is strongly weighted in favour of granting planning permission,” said Planning Manager Kieran Manning.
Those in favour of the development argue it is desperately needed to tackle the traffic difficulties the city faces.
Kate Ellis, major development director at the council, said: “As a city we have a well-recognised need for more housing of all types, more locations for businesses for more and better paid jobs, for better leisure provision and for improved highway infrastructure for all forms of movement.
“This is not a site for uninspiring tokenistic development where units are crammed into a sea of tarmac to maximise profit.”
However, she said; “What we can’t do and what actually frankly, no one can do, is deliver this overnight and without temporary disruption.
“We can’t put £50 million worth of infrastructure from day one and not have any houses. What we can do is deliver a policy compliant exemplar sustainable new community for our city. So I’m actually particularly proud to be advocating this theme to you tonight.”
Harry Flexman, from Connect Transport Consultants, warned: “If the development doesn’t happen, the houses will need to be built elsewhere, which will simply add to the traffic without providing suitable litigation.”
Mark Foster from Lindum told councillors: “Our reputation is at stake here and the success of the scheme in its totality is most important to us all. Personally, I was born and bred here and it matters to me what we do here.”
The latest masterplan for the Western Growth Corridor showing the bus-only routes.
However, Lincolnshire County Council has previously expressed strong concerns over the plans.
It has previously been backed by Conservative-majority North Kesteven District Council in its fears, which particularly centre around the Skellingthorpe Road/A46 roundabout and Lincoln Road.
Speaking on Wednesday, Becky Melhuish said the county could support the application if detailed mitigation and checks were carried out, however, she said the traffic would increase nearly 20%, adding the road was “already operating over capacity”.
“These junction improvements could provide increased capacity, however, they will not provide relief for the residents of the new development,” she said, adding there was “no guarantee” of a bridge over the railway off the Tritton Road access.
Visual of Lincoln City’s new stadium as part of the Western Growth Corridor plan.
Residents say the land regularly floods and have concerns that the build, along with mitigation measures, could push flooding to other areas.
Hartsholme ward councillor Biff Bean said congestion in the area was a “nightmare” and said he had hoped that if the design was right “there was a good chance we could use the site to ease the traffic congestion”.
However, he said it the latest application “falls well short of helping” with the development expected to take more than 20 years.
“This will mean that there will be no emphasis on completing the road infrastructure, which is crucial to get the traffic congestion relief in our communities,” he said.
“I do understand the need for more housing and the leisure facilities would be a welcome addition to the city of Lincoln, but on the whole the project has more negatives than positives. So it’s back to the drawing board for me.”
Ian Whiting from the Skellingthorpe Community Residents Action Group was among several speakers who accused the council of a lack of consultation.
“Those of us who have studied this really can’t understand why you continue to pursue it. The problems will start to affect communities very quickly, and your constituents will be a lot more interested in them about why you let this happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fen Kipley said: “There remains serious concerns about the lack of and a thorough up to date, environmental impact assessment, especially relating to the local heritage, geographical, ecological and archaeological aspects. These have not been fully addressed.”
Tom Wilkinson, who owns Decoy Farm, said the lack of a direct access to the A46 – potentially through his land – was a “missed opportunity”.
“I’m not convinced by the applicant’s reasoning for not having a direct link go to the A46 and the token alterations they propose to the Skellingthorpe Roundabout are laughable,” he said.
“I can’t believe you can develop 3,200 houses, 50 acres of commercial development, and a football stadium with all the associated construction traffic using the access points proposed without causing significant congestion and misery.”
On Wednesday, the proposals were passed by 16 votes for to 11 votes against.
The council’s decision will now be passed to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to consider as part of LCC’s call-in application.
If Mr Gove accepts the county’s application his department will examine the plans in greater detail before making a final decision.
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