Developers get green light to reduce recreation space funding in Branston

Developers behind 198 homes in Branston have successfully applied for a reduction in the amount they will have to pay to provide offsite recreation facilities and open spaces in the village.

Councillors on North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee approved Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd’s request to cut financial contributions from £270,288 to £183,600, a drop of nearly £90,000.

The committee voted by a margin of 10 to 0 to support the application, with seven abstentions.

Construction work on the development west of the B1188 Sleaford Road and east of Mere Road has already started after planning permission was granted in July 2016.

The reduction in funding is possible due to the adoption of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan, which has different requirements compared with the previous 2007 North Kesteven Local Plan.

The request will involve no change to the plans already approved by councillors, or changes to the level of open space provided on the site of the development.

The developers urged councillors to support the recommendations from officers, saying that they were not taking away anything, and that sufficient facilities already exist.

However, Lincolnshire Independent Councillor Peter Lundgren, ward member for Branston, said that the changes had “huge ramifications”.

Councillor Lundgren, who did not vote, said: “Branston is expecting 350 new houses over the next five years. Developers have an obligation to provide infrastructure. It’s sad when they walk away from this. They’ve essentially withdrawn £90,000.”

Councillor Terry Boston, Conservative member for Heckington, and Councillor Grenville Jackson, Lincolnshire Independent representing Sleaford Holdingham, both said it was “a betrayal”, both of people living in the village and those who have bought houses on the development.

Councillor John Money, Conservative member for Metheringham, said that he sympathised with these views but there was no policy to base refusal on.

In objecting, Branston resident Graham Smith said: “The developer should be held to all of the undertakings given in the originally approved application, so that villagers may benefit as intended.”

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust also objected on the grounds of a loss of green space provision on land away from the development.