February 26, 2019 4.36 pm This story is over 38 months old

Grantham 3,700 homes garden village plans approved

Developers ready to sprout into action

A 3,700-home garden village on the edge of Grantham which will include shops, schools and a health centre has been approved.

Spitalgate Heath is one of 14 government-backed urban expansions planned across the country by the government.

Passing the outline plans, however, councillors called on the developers to build a community centre and local shop included earlier than planned.

Councillor Robert Reid said: “As a community starts there, it needs to be able to live and do its own checks and balances.

“By doing it from the beginning it will grow and it will grow with community strength and spirit.”

The layout of the Spitalgate Heath development.

Councillor Judy Smith said: “If we’re going to do it, then do it right from the beginning.

“It could be seven years down the line, by which the you would want to have created some sort of community,” she said.

They have also added in extra protections, calling on the cabinet members for housing, growth and finance to be consulted.

Councillors raised concerns over the number of houses and its effect on the infrastructure of the town, as well as the number of affordable homes – which has been reduced from 35% to 10% as developers argued the costs involved in the project.

Councillor Michael King called on applicant Buckminster to be bolder in bringing community facilities forward in an attempt to encourage residents to move in.

However, he acknowledged: “Huge progress has been made on this project since 2017.

“It hasn’t been easy but there’s been a real improvement in aligning that 10% affordable housing deal”.

An aerial view showing the boundaries of the proposed development.

Councillors were also told an application for the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund could also see the number of affordable houses increased.

The Garden Villages project is an offshoot of government’s Garden Cities such as Letchworth and Welwyn, which aims to create new communities with green spaces, good transport links and aspirational homes.

During the meeting councillors were told the development’s “wider benefits” would include new customers for the existing shops and services and support for the delivery of the Grantham Southern Relief Road.

Representatives from applicants Buckminster said SKDC officers had “squeezed” them during discussions on the plans, with Andrew Russell-Wilks adding: “The pips are really squeaking.”

The 224 hectare village, which was already earmarked for new housing, will also include 110,000 square metres of employment space, creating up to 3,000 new jobs, a primary and secondary school, a health centre, sports facilities and shops.

A new riverside park, outdoor sports and play areas, community orchard and allotments will be connected by footpaths, cycleways and landscaped corridors.

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