The leader of South Kesteven District Council said he wants to lead the way on carbon neutral housing after a major application from the authority in Stamford was approved on Wednesday.
The authority’s planning committee voted in favour of the outline St Martin’s Park proposals for the former Cummins Site, which will include 190 homes, a retirement village of a further 150 homes, and 10,000sqm of business units and commercial space.
It also includes a convenience store and cafe, as well as public open space and improved cycle and pedestrian access to parkland to the south of the site and along Barnack Road.
The Barnack Road factory to the west of the land, due to be demolished as part of the plans, is owned by South Kesteven District Council, which is working with Burghley Estates, owners of the greenfield land next door. However a building from 1904 will be retained as part of the build.
The application also includes a convenience store and cafe, as well as public open space and improved cycle and pedestrian access to parkland to the south of the site.
Councillors were told the land already had permission to return to industrial use to the west of the site, and for housing to the east of the site.
Providing sustainable and carbon neutral housing was one of the sticking points for councillors who argued SKDC should be doing more to guarantee a “green village” for the area.
It came on the same day as Lincolnshire’s first Climate Summit, in which county councillor Colin Davie called for homes built within the county to be “of a very highest energy efficiency standard”.
At the planning committee, Councillor Phil Dilks asked: “Given that half of the applicant is this council, which is a climate change council, wouldn’t it have been in our gift to have declared this development as a green village or a carbon zero site, which in my view would have been a great asset… and a feather in Stamford’s hat.”
Councillors were mostly supportive of the application, despite concerns over increased traffic, the safety of a nearby railway crossing and the degradation of nearby nature sites.
Following approval, council leader Kelham Cooke said it was a “fantastic decision” for the “key regeneration site”.
“I’m extremely positive about the future, and looking forward to as getting started and seeing the planned demolition in the next few months.”
He said, however, that in terms of delivery of carbon neutral homes that there was “still a long way for the industry to go… I don’t think we’re there yet”.
Though he said he would work with developers to “make sure they are as carbon efficient as possible, so this can be an example for the future developments across the district.”
“We did declare a climate emergency as a council so everything we do, we need to look at how we do it and why we do it and if we can make any more energy efficient.
“I have no doubt that we want to lead by example obviously as a county council as well I absolutely echo the comments that Colin Davies made [at the climate summit].
Bosses say around 825 jobs could be created by the development and that more than £2.8 million a year would be brought in by resident expenditure, business rates, council tax and a New Homes Bonus over at least the next four years.
The Cummins diesel generator manufacturing plant closed in 2018 and has been vacant ever since. At the time, between 350-500 jobs were lost as a result. South Kesteven District Council purchased the site in 2019.
More than 30 objections had been received about the plans, including concerns from the Stamford Bypass Group and the Stukely Court Residents Association.
More detailed matters will go before a future planning committee as a reserved matters application.