September 15, 2021 4.11 pm This story is over 32 months old

It’s a no, again, for 120 new homes plan by Apex Lake in Hykeham

Council fears over biodiversity loss

A developer’s plan to build 120 new homes in North Hykeham faces a second rejection attempt next week due to its impact on local wildlife.

CEMEX UK originally applied to North Kesteven District Council in 2020 to build 150 new lakeside homes on land off Heron Walk and by Apex Lake.

However, prior to its appearance before councillors in December, officers recommended refusal due to the adverse impacts on nearby wildlife and a failure to assess the potential implications for local bats. The application was subsequently withdrawn shortly before planning committee due to new information being submitted by CEMEX.

Despite follow-up reports and conversations with biodiversity organisations no suitable sites could be found for alternative provisions and, in the end, CEMEX instead amended their plans, bringing down the number of houses to 120 and offering a 1.1ha area of ecological enhancement in its place.

Officers, however, remained unhappy with the plans and have again recommended refusal at a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday at 5pm.

In a report before members they said: “The applicant has failed to fully substantiate… that the stated baseline ecological condition of some of the relevant habitats (primarily those within Whisby Nature Park) can be taken as being representative and robust beyond reasonable doubt.

“On balance this means that the claimed uplift in biodiversity habitat units above the baseline associated with the habitat interventions… cannot be wholly relied upon and does not provide sufficient confidence in the suggested measures to offset the loss of similar habitats elsewhere.”

The latest plans showing areas left aside for biodiversity benefit.

They added that harm caused to the area was “not outweighed by the provision of additional housing supply, including affordable housing, in a sustainable location well served by public transport, with a number of nearby social, retail, leisure and employment services and facilities”.

The council has received hundreds of objections in response to the plans and subsequent amendments with concerns including highways issues, the impact on local infrastructure and the impact on the ecology of the lake.

Others said the proposal would not help with antisocial behaviour issues.

The site stopped being used as a quarry in 2011.