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Plans for 3,200 energy-efficient homes and business park moving forward in Lincoln – despite claims designs are underwhelming

The City of Lincoln Council is moving forward with the first phase of its Western Growth Corridor housing project, despite some criticisms of the designs being underwhelming.

During a meeting at The Drill Hall, city councillors approved detailed plans for the first 52 houses of the major development, as well as a Haul Road on Pig Lane and two electrical substations.

Since the city council is behind the development, the application was presented to the full council, which acted in the capacity of the planning committee.

The designs were criticised for being underwhelming. Photo: CoLC
The designs were criticised for being underwhelming. Photo: CoLC

The overall project seeks to construct 3,200 high-quality, energy-efficient homes, a business park, and transport infrastructure to the south of the city, aiming to tackle some of the most pressing traffic challenges.

Residents living nearby the development have previously criticised the council for moving forward with the plans on what they described as a “known flood plain,” although the council maintains that it is not.

The initial phase, referred to as Phase 1A, is situated directly northeast of Skellingthorpe Road, across from the junction with Birchwood Avenue.

Wednesdays Full Council meeting at The Drill Hall. Photo: James Turner
Wednesdays Full Council meeting at The Drill Hall. Photo: James Turner

Construction has already started in this area, and temporary traffic lights have been installed to regulate the flow of traffic. The access point to the development is expected to be completed later this year.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Mark Foster, director of Lindum Homes, the contract holder, hailed the development as “much-needed housing for the city,” envisioning it as a “truly aspirational place to live.”

Boultham councillor Gary Hewson (Labour) concurred, acknowledging that the development had been “a long time coming.”

Members of the public watching on. Photo: James Turner
Members of the public watching on. Photo: James Turner

However, Coun Naomi Tweddle (Labour), portfolio holder for inclusive economic growth, commented: “I can’t say I’m overwhelmed by the design.

“It would have been good to have some real aspirational designed houses,” referring to the significant expectation linked to the development.

Carholme ward councillor Lucinda Preston (Labour) shared her view, adding: “Overall, they are lovely properties, but I think some of them could do with a little more thought.”

Coun Clare Smalley. Photo: James Turner
Coun Clare Smalley. Photo: James Turner

Meanwhile, Councillor David Clarkson (Conservative) expressed worries about the proposed parking courts, suggesting that they might cause issues with visitors and instances of people taking each other’s spots.

“Typically, where parking is concerned, people don’t play nicely,” he said.

Local representatives also discussed a proposed haul road on Pig Lane, which is intended to facilitate the development of the Western Growth Corridor.

Debbie Grant
Debbie Grant

As part of this development, JGC (Grahams) has been contracted to build both a pedestrian and a road bridge connecting Tritton Road to the main development site. These bridges, spanning a railway line, are designed to establish a connection between the development and the city centre.

However, Debbie Grant, 57, owner of the Lincoln Holiday Retreat located on Pig Lane, voiced her profound concerns and objections, noting that the road’s current appearance resembles more of a construction site.

She’s worried that this transformation is diminishing the appeal of her business, which was previously known for its serene and tranquil location.

“Despite assurances that businesses would not suffer, the reality is starkly different,” she told the council.

On the other hand, Alastair Lewis, contracts director for the Graham Group, underscored the essential nature of the haul road for the overall success of the development.

While acknowledging Mrs Grant’s concerns and the impact on her business, Simon Cousins, planning team leader, provided assurance that once the main road over the railway and the junction with Tritton Road are completed, expected to be sometime this summer, it will become the primary access route to the site for construction traffic.

He added: “The planning process can only go so far to ensure the developments don’t impact people.”

In the end, the council formally approved all three components: the construction of the first 52 houses, the new haul road, and the installation of two substations.

Following the meeting, former Mayor of Lincoln and Park ward councillor Chris Burke (Labour) said that he was “really pleased” with the outcome.

“It’s vital that we build these 3,000 homes as there is a desperate shortage. Tonight was a crucial part of that,” he said.

His partner and fellow Park ward councillor Sue Burke (also Labour), concurred with his sentiments, straightforwardly stating: “We need it.”

When questioned about the comments regarding the designs being underwhelming, Sue responded: “When I look at the pictures, I actually don’t agree. They’re not boxes. Generally, I think they look fairly good to me.”

Local Conservative leader Tom Dyer said that he now had confidence in the project’s new designs. This marks a change in his stance, as he had previously voted against the development during the outline permission stage in January 2022 due to concerns about potential traffic and congestion.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Clare Smalley cast her vote against all three applications, expressing her concerns about the Western Growth Corridor as a whole.

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The Abbey ward representative later emphasised that it was regrettable that more wasn’t being done to address the challenges faced by Mrs Grant and the impact on her business.

She said: “It’s easy to ignore that one business at the end of the road, but it’s impacting their life. I understand that when we do these developments, there is a knock-on effect, I get that. But, as an elected member, it’s disappointing when the council is the planning authority and the developer that we are not taking that more seriously.

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