£2m Birchwood roundabout set to kick-start 3,200 homes build

The City of Lincoln Council has been awarded £2 million to build a new roundabout the edge of the Birchwood ward, the first step in a 3,200 homes development.

Subject to planning approval, the new roundabout would bring forward the Western Growth Corridor (WGC) project.

Homes England has offered £1.88 million to the city council, to put towards the £2.2 million cost of replacing existing traffic lights at the junction of Birchwood Avenue and Skellingthorpe Road, in the south of the city.

The news comes just weeks after Lincoln-based construction company Lindum Group expanded its ownership of land within the proposed development site.

Later this month, the city council’s Executive will be asked to approve proposals which would see the two organisations work together with the aim of submitting an Outline Planning Application for a new neighbourhood in the city early next year.

It would signal a significant milestone for the Western Growth Corridor project, which has been in the pipeline for more than 20 years and is one of four sustainable urban extension (SUE) areas identified in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.

Plans for the plot of land include up to 3,200 homes, a hotel, leisure complex and Lincoln City football stadium.

The plan, adopted in April 2017, approved the principle for a development of 3,200 new homes (20 per cent of which would be affordable), 20 hectares of commercial/employment space, a new Leisure Village, green space, flood mitigation improvements and a range of improvements to roads, cycle paths and pedestrian routes.

Previous attempts to bring forward the WGC development has been hampered by landownership and transport issues.

However, the city council said now Lindum has purchased land from the Scarborough family, the construction company and the council between them own the land required to bring the development forward – making progression of the project simpler than at any other time.

In addition, substantial work to understand, model and analyse the highways/transport issues in the area, including further additional traffic modelling, is ongoing and will inform the final proposals.

This work will inform specific consultation events as part of the wider public consultation proposed in November 2018.

The Western Growth Corridor between Boultham and Birchwood is a 320-hectare site — around 10% of Lincoln’s size.

Outline planning applications are expected to be submitted at the beginning of 2019.

Work on the new Skellingthorpe Road roundabout has been outlines to begin in summer 2020.

Kate Ellis, Director of Major Developments at City of Lincoln Council, said: “This is an incredibly important development that will help meet the needs of Lincoln over the coming years and will assist us in delivering the growth ambitions for the city.

“It is a complex project and we would like to thank everyone who has already engaged in the process. This report follows on from public consultation where we received many useful and productive comments that have helped inform and shape this next stage.

“We are incredibly pleased to have obtained the financial support from Homes England, which shows government support for the future growth of the city. Subject to planning approval, the grant will aid us in providing a significant piece of road infrastructure ahead of any houses in the development being occupied.

“Having Lindum increase their involvement in the project is a positive for the city. It will be good for the city council to be working on such a significant project alongside a local construction company with a real stake in the local community and who wants to see the same level of quality housing that we do.”

In order to progress with the planning application, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the council and Lindum will set out how the organisations will work together until the signing of a formal Delivery Agreement towards the end of the year.

It sets out both an intention to reach an agreement on delivering the development subject to obtaining planning consent and the principles for how they will work together to submit that planning application.

It also includes a financial commitment to share the future costs of completing the remaining work required for a planning submission that is non-refundable.

Lindum Director Paul McSorley said: “Lindum has been associated with this project for a number of years – first as a landowner on a small part of the site, then as a construction partner for a previous landowner and more recently as the new owner of a larger parcel of land.

“The purchase of Fen Plantation Farm, and more than 200 acres of further allocated land, is testament to the importance we place on local developments close to the city and just two miles from our offices in North Hykeham.

“As a company employing so many Lincolnshire people, we are passionate about being part of a scheme which will provide vital new homes, employment land and community facilities.

“Lindum employs its own skilled operatives, including groundworkers, joiners and decorators, as well as a number of managers, apprentices and trainees – many of whom would be employed on the site during construction. In addition, we are committed to creating opportunities for work for other local businesses in our supply chain.

“Furthermore, unlike many other national housebuilders and development companies, Lindum is an employee-owned business, which means that a share of any profit that’s made will go back into the hands of our employees and the local economy.”