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Residents hit out at GummerLeathes plans for Stamford North housing development

Residents have hit back at would-be developers of a large-scale housing estate, saying they don’t feel consulted.

GummerLeathes, which describes itself as a master developer, is behind the ‘Stamford North’ plans for 1,350 homes, a school, shops, an athletics track and health centre on 81 hectares of Burghley House Preservation Trust land between Ryhall Road and Little Casterton Road in Stamford.

Meanwhile, Allison Homes has applied to develop 650 homes on 66 hectares at Quarry Farm, between Little Casterton Road and Casterton Road.

Quarry Farm
Quarry Farm

Reacting to GummerLeathes’ assertion earlier this month that its representatives had spent time talking with residents and more than 30 community groups to find out what was important, Carys Vaughan, who heads the protest group Protect Quarry Farm, said this was not the case.

She said: “Developers have presented this as a community-led vision. We disagree.

“It’s been a top-down decision by GummerLeathes, Allison Homes and Burghley House Preservation Trust.

Protesters at Quarry Farm
Protesters at Quarry Farm

“The part the community has played has been small and they are not listening to genuine concerns.

“We’re not nimbys. This is not petty whingeing. These are legitimate concerns.”

Laura Upson first lodged her opposition to GummerLeathes’ plans at a public consultation in July 2022.

Quarry Farm
Quarry Farm

Her primary concern is that a noise-deflecting earth mound separating Borderville Sports Centre off Ryhall Road from existing homes would be replaced with more houses.

She says the new homes will be used as ‘sacrificial lambs’ and not provide the same noise defence from the pitches, which can be used until 10pm.

The loss of the earth ‘bund’, she says, would affect people living in the existing streets of Losecoat Close, Turnpole Close, Berrybut Way and Armley Grove.

Borderville's training pitches are currently screened from housing by a mound of earth that forms an acoustic bund. Photo: Laura Upson. Inset, Quarry Farm.
Borderville's training pitches are currently screened from housing by a mound of earth that forms an acoustic bund. Photo: Laura Upson. Inset, Quarry Farm.

Laura said she had spoken to GummerLeathes at two public consultations but didn’t feel the company had followed up on her concerns sufficiently.

“They said the community has been left reassured but this could not have been further from the truth,” said Laura.

Wendy Laughton and her husband, Chris, are among those taking issue with Stamford North’s proposed changes around Borderville.

“The acoustic bund was a planning condition of Borderville being in operation,” said Wendy.

“To remove it requires appropriate mitigation. The developer’s mitigation is putting houses right up against it with absolutely no acoustic or light protection at all. That won’t protect us as the noise reverberates through all the gaps - but imagine living in those houses.

The map shows where Stamford North is located, next to the proposed Quarry Farm housing development
The map shows where Stamford North is located, next to the proposed Quarry Farm housing development

“The training pitches are used constantly and the noise from the main Stamford AFC pitch is incredibly loud.”

Another issue Carys and Laura highlight is that an east-west ‘relief’ road through the middle of Allison Homes’ Quarry Farm and GummerLeathes’ Stamford North developments, would cut through two important woodlands.

They and others who oppose the plans in their current form feel the relief road should instead be on the northernmost edge of the developments, particularly since areas to the north of the housing developments under discussion were identified in South Kesteven District Council planning documents dating from 2015.

Some residents also feel Lincolnshire County Council’s traffic modelling cannot be correct in suggesting the relief road would ease congestion at junctions in other parts of the town.

Resident James Owens said: “The traffic data from the developer’s report and Lincolnshire County Council’s modelling is astounding. We are led to believe that the ‘relief road’ will be a magic panacea for the town’s congestion issues.

“Everyone living here knows this will not be the case. Many of the town’s key junctions are already working over capacity and the whole local transport network will be put under even further strain.

“To think this will all be mopped up and even improved by the relief road is incredible.”

Helen Gatehouse echoed his views, saying traffic modelling relies on accurate information and can be seriously flawed, and adding: “Car parking in town is becoming more difficult and many people who work in town will park in adjacent streets, where they cause traffic congestion.”

While GummerLeathes has said it will pay for a health centre for use as a new GP surgery, Carys and Laura warn that the NHS has not yet signed up to fund the running of such a surgery.

Town resident Anne Gillard said she felt the plans overall gave “no real regard for the future of Stamford, no proper investment in infrastructure or regard for what the town really needs”.

Dianne Parkin and Andy Bates are concerned promises will be broken when it comes to community facilities on the sites.

And Clive Leeks is one of several people troubled by the loss of wildlife habitat, particularly at Quarry Farm.

He said: “The ground nesting skylarks, which are on the red list for endangered birds, were not even recorded on the developer’s surveys.

“If you walk through the former quarry now you will hear their beautiful song and yet they will lose their homes, as will many other important wildlife and plant species, as a result of this development.”

Susannah Holloway, who has led opposition to the planned Mallard Pass solar farm on the Rutland and Lincolnshire border near Stamford, said she was concerned about bottlenecks on the A1 junctions with Stamford and Great Casterton, should building work on the housing developments and the solar farm coincide.

“The cumulative traffic disruption, potential damage and noise could be horrendous,” she said.

Others are also worried about additional traffic in the north-east of the town.

Kieran Wade said: “Our son goes to work on the A1 but has had so many near misses while waiting on the A1 trying to get on the A606 junction he now goes across country through Newstead corner and out at Great Casterton, which is what everyone else will be doing as there is no other way.

“Even now there is too much traffic on Casterton Road, to name just one.

“Over the years of walking my children to school in Casterton I’ve seen numerous near-misses involving pedestrians, and I’d say virtually all are a result of too much traffic, and the frustrated and therefore dangerous way people drive.”

Tracey Jones, Leah Jennings and Yvonne Twine have each expressed fears over increased traffic on Arran Road.

Kevin Corby, Independent Rutland county councillor for Ryhall and Casterton, said: “The community has been overwhelmingly objective in its concerns, and in no way could be described as nimby.

“The fact is, this development remains as two separate applications, with the link road and housing numbers being prioritised over legitimate environmental and infrastructure concerns.

“I hope that our local planning authorities are listening.”

Matt and Katie Smith agree with Carys and Laura that some residents feel ignored.

“As a community, we are becoming increasingly disillusioned and somewhat irritated by the narrative that this development is a ‘community-led vision’,” they said.

“We are being ‘consulted’ but not listened to in what feels like a tick box exercise for a foregone conclusion.”

They feel that if GummerLeathes wants the development to be a “cherished part of Stamford” that comes close to the community’s vision then concessions need to be made, starting with leaving the noise barrier at Borderville in place and by moving the east-west relief road to the northernmost edge of the development.

Derek Parr agreed, adding: “To read that this is ‘community-led’ is just crazy. We have been consistently ignored.

“The way they say there will be no impact on traffic in the town is fantasy. We just need to see the gridlock on Ryhall Road at peak times now. Plus the light and noise pollution that will come from demolishing the acoustic bund. There have been a large number of objections on this development – but who is actually taking them into account?”

Alice Seller, of GummerLeathes, said in response: “Developing new places is never easy, particularly for those living in neighbouring properties. We are acutely aware of this and have always been available to listen, chat and, where possible, to adapt and improve. We have had hundreds of conversations – formal and informal – with Stamford residents. We have tried to listen to all the individuals and community groups who have contacted us. We have adapted our application as a result of local feedback, and our plans have been improved by that feedback. We have also requested independent experts to provide evidence to inform many of our most important decisions.

“The removal of the bund has, understandably, been the subject of feedback from a number of people living close to the Borderville Sports Centre. We have followed up with them all and hope to meet again shortly.

“It is a huge responsibility to be establishing a new community, a responsibility we take very seriously. We and many people in Stamford are excited about our plans for Stamford North and we look forward to continuing to talk to residents across the town, as we move closer to delivering the homes and new community assets that local people want and need.”

Find out about planning applications that affect you at the Public Notice Portal.

People can view the full planning application S23/0055 at tinyurl.com/StamfordNorthSK

People have until Thursday, April 24, to comment on the proposed new local plan for South Kesteven at tinyurl.com/SKDCLocalPlan

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