A developer’s 373 home plan for Bourne, which includes the demolition of a historic railway bridge, has been approved.
South Kesteven District Council gave the go ahead to Bellway Homes’ proposals for land south of Harvey Close and west of Wincanton Way on Wednesday.
Bridge 234, which previously carried an unsurfaced track over the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Bourne-Saxby line, will be demolished as part of the plans due to concerns it is not “structurally safe”.
The developer will mark the bridge’s location with a paved piazza including original limestone blocks from the bridge in response to two petitions containing a combined 1,735 signatures calling for the bridge, and the whole site, to be preserved.
Some small parts of the bridge may also be retained if possible. The piazza will also include information boards explaining the history of the bridge.
Officers described the plans as a “significant” amount of space and an “appropriate tribute”.
“The site when looked at as a whole is considered to be of a good design. It’s well connected, both within the site and to its surroundings, there’s been extensive pre-app discussions with the developer […] this has resulted further significant improvements to the design of this scheme.”
The developer must submit biodiversity and landscaping plans to the council prior to any development – including details of any parts of the bridge which can be saved.
However, objectors continued to say the plans for the historic feature would not be appropriate.
Steve Giullari, of the Bourne History Group, said it would not safeguard children uploading photos to social media or visitors to the area.
He said there needed to be a “balance between the old and the new”.
“Properly looked after bridge 234 could be a real asset to the town,” he said.
Speaking in support of the application however, Jono Brough of Elsea Park Community Trust, said the developer had taken concerns on board but that they would “directly benefit residents […] and the wider community.”
“The provision of information boards will establish this area as an all inclusive environment, which provides education on the history of boards railway heritage,” he said.
He added that the bridge was of “no historical significance” and noted it had recently been “daubed by racist and anti-semitic graffiti, not to mention the signifcant amounts of litter”.
“This is not something the people of Bourne should be proud of,” he said.
An amendment to hold a site visit to the bridge following a passionate speech from Councillor Ian Selby was voted down.
The plans form part of zone 7 of the Elsea Park masterplan, which includes a new school, 3G football pitch and community centre. It is the last zone to be developed and will be built in six separate phases with each estimated to take between 18 months to two years.
37 of the 373 homes will be classed as affordable housing.
Two to four bedroom homes are proposed in mainly single storey detached, semi-detached and short terrace forms with on-plot parking for most builds.
A ‘pump track’ will be provided which is a play facility for BMX riders and skateboarding, as well as equipped play areas for children.
87 people have written against proposals and five in support, one main objection being the demolishing of the historic bridge.