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“It’s a continuous war” - Developers ‘jumping the gun’ as area fights housing plans

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Landowners and developers are “jumping the gun” by trying to build homes before the district council settles its planning policies.

Welton councillor Malcolm Parish says it is “a continuous war” fending off development in his village, which faces the potential building of hundreds of homes.

This week, West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee visited Welton, which is eagerly sought after by developers for its facilities and closeness to Lincoln.

The council has recently backed a plan for 50 homes east of Halfpenny Lane and North of The Hardings from Beal Homes and the ACIS housing group. It also deferred a decision Turley Farms wanting to build 63 homes east of Hackthorne Road.

Furthermore, RH Ward (Welton) and Mr P Linder of Welton Cliff, Welton, seek outline planning permission on land off Cliff Road and Heath Lane for 63 homes on a 31,000sq m site.

“We have several more which haven’t been tabled yet. The situation is going to get worse. Even Dunholme is threatened with 200 homes,” Warned Coun Parish.

“We’re trying to defend the village. It’s getting out of hand. It’s all due to landowners trying to jump the gun.”

Until West Lindsey District Council has settled its district plan, which includes associated neighbourhood plans, councils must follow government rules which have a presumption in favour of planning where such development is judged sustainable.

“I feel very sorry for the planning officers. Their hands are tied trying to dig up legalistic reasons (to stop development)” Coun Parish said.

With public fears of extra residents overwhelming community facilities, the councillor says some developers are offering to build new schools, health centres and other facilities.

“We have been flooded out with additional building over the past few years. Now we are being palmed off with more. We will keep fighting it. We will do our best,” he said.

Welton Parish town clerk Julie Murray agrees developers are taking advantage of a lack of firm planning guidelines. Welton hopes to put its neighbourhood plan to a referendum early next year.

“Everybody has strong views,” about development in the village, she said.

West Lindsey planning committee chairman Giles McNeil, who represents nearby Nettleham, believes developers are “probably” taking advantage.

“The 2006 saved West Lindsey local plan made provision for development within settlement boundaries. However, no such requirement exists within the National Planning Policy Framework and development can take place beyond the settlement boundary.”

The Central Lincolnshire joint planning unit, of which West Lindsey is a member, must also have a five year supply of building land. With Lincoln having little room for development, this puts extra pressure on places nearby, Coun McNeil warned.

Beal Homes, the ACIS Group and Turley Farms did not respond with comment as we went to press.

A WLDC spokeswoman said: “The Central Lincolnshire Local Plan will be finalised in 2016. There are no targets yet, as the first round of public consultation is not due to start until October.”

 

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