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South Holland District Council planning committee defers latest Holbeach Meadows application

Fears over primary school places, lack of space for families and road safety were raised during a heated debate over the latest phase of a 900-home development.

Calls were made by some quarters of South Holland District Council’s planning committee to refuse Ashwood Homes application to build 285 homes on land in Hallgate and Fen Road, Holbeach - but they were accused of ‘making an example’ of this estate at ‘the taxpayer’s expense’.

Outline planning permission for the 900 home Holbeach Meadows development was granted in 2016 and was set to include feature a new primary school, community hub and public open spaces. The developer had agreed last year to a compromise deal which saw reduced affordable housing units and contributions to Peppermint roundabout construction.

The entrance to Holbeach Meadows, in Hall Gate
The entrance to Holbeach Meadows, in Hall Gate

Holbeach councillor Sophie Hutchinson said her main concern was how much the development had been ‘watered down’ since the initial outline strategy was presented.

“Everything that made the development acceptable has gone,” she said.

Coun Hutchinson said the development would be ‘difficult to get around’ and added that it would be ‘carnage’ once the promised school is built.

Coun Sophie Hutchinson
Coun Sophie Hutchinson

Coun Hutchinson reminded the meeting that the committee had refused planning permission for holiday lodges due to the access and that this estate will be entered via Tudor Way, a small cul-de-sac.

She said: “We should not be saying ‘it’s not too bad’ or ‘we have seen worse’. If you go outside the district, you will see how shocking the standard of housing is in comparison. We need to develop designs which are better for our communities as we are letting them down.

“I am going to move that we go against the officers recommendation and refuse it.”

Coun Paul Barnes, who represents nearby Fleet, said: “Do we have any idea when the future primary school is going to be built as it is going to be a nightmare in Holbeach and the surrounding area without an additional primary school.”

He was told that would be determined by the education authority, Lincolnshire County Council.

Coun Barnes also said that he could see the pedestrian crossing on the busy Fen Road as a very serious problem but there was no objection from Highways.

Chairman of the council Coun Andrew Woolf, who said he wouldn’t be voting for the application, described the location as ‘bonkers’ due to the speed limit.

He said: “I think that is insane.”

The issue of mental health was raised by Sutton Bridge councillor Chris Brewis.

He said: “The idea of someone growing up on a crappy development like this frightens me for the future of our mental health.”

Deputy leader of the council Coun Paul Redgate said the close proximity of a home with the attenuation pond is a ‘accident waiting to happen’.

He said: “Developers baffle me. We have a little bit of green. How are we meant to be able to support our residents in terms of mental health and wellbeing when there is so little green space.”

Open spaces were also discussed by Coun Margaret Geaney. She said: “I can’t see any open spaces other than rows of trees which are not going to be any use for any children aged between 0 and 18.”

Long Sutton councillor Jack Tyrrell moved the recommendation to approve the development stating that anyone looking to refuse it would be ‘on a sticky wicket’.

Coun Henry Bingham said the development’s design was in line with the majority of Holbeach.

He said: “I realise some members are going to try to make an example out of the application at the tax payer’s expense. I have not heard anything that we could refuse this on the grounds that is defendable.

“We may not be fond of it but we have created a standard for that area.”

Coun Hutchinson later in the debate stated that the a major concern of the public was an access into the site which was not included within the outline planning permission. She felt this was a substantial difference from the outline planning permission.

She said: “I am not going to let a sub standard development go through as that is what was done before. You don’t following a bad decision with another bad decision and I can’t do it.”

Chairman of the committee James Avery requested Coun Hutchinson to retract her motion to refuse the application in order for it to be deferred to allow officers to go back to discuss concerns with the applicant.

Coun Hutchinson refused and her motion was lost with five people voting in favour, seven against and one abstention.

The chairman again made the same request to Coun Tyrrell to retract his approval motion for a deferral. While Coun Tyrrell said he would ‘love to do the gamble’ in order to see the reaction but did detract the motion.

Coun Avery put forward a motion to defer the application which was supported by Coun Chris Brewis and this was passed.

What do you think? Let us know your views in the comments…

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