December 8, 2021 10.14 am This story is over 30 months old

1,123 home plan for Bracebridge Heath up in the air due to care home concerns – 450 homes already approved

Councils hope developer contributions will raise £15 million

Councillors have approved a 450-homes development in Bracebridge Heath but deferred a two-and-a-half times larger one following concerns over highways and a proposed care home.

North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to Jesus College Oxford’s application for 450 homes on land north of Canwick Avenue, however, called for officers to engage in further talks around the Church Commissioners for England’s application for 1,123 homes off Sleaford Road.

The proposals cover major chunks of land allocated for the Lincoln South Eastern Quadrant (SEQ).

Jesus College Oxford’s plans cover 28 hectares in total and also include the provision of land for a primary school and a new four-arm roundabout on Canwick Avenue. It will also include pedestrian and cycle access and developers say the layout will allow a “high degree of connectivity”.

The larger 45-hectare plan, from Church Commissioners for England, would be built on three parcels of land adjacent to Lincoln Eastern Bypass, and will include 2.6 hectares of employment land including a “broad mix from shops to restaurants, offices/light industrial, clinics and health centres and assembly and leisure facilities” and a mobility hub. Access would be via four armed roundabout off Sleaford Road.

Officers told councillors during the meeting that the plans were “roughly in line” with the first phase of the SEQ and said approval was “critical” to meet targets for housebuilding in the area. They said not approving them would lead to “pressure to release additional land most likely more dispersed locations leading to less sustainable outcome”.

Both plans had received nearly 40 objections each from local residents with concerns including the usual suspects of transport, insufficient infrastructure and road networks, and overdevelopment of the area.

Branston and Meres, Canwick Parish and Heighington Parish Councils had objected to one or both proposals.

Earlier investment needed for 450 home development, say objectors

Indicative plans for the 450-home proposals.

One resident of over 60 years and Bracebridge Heath Parish Councillor Susan Manders said the smaller development would “deprive a generation of having enough community space or buildings” and said there was not enough bungalows included, which were classed as affordable. She said infrastructure needed to be included earlier in the plans.

It needs to be secured now, not in 20 years time when one generation of Bracebridge Heath, and the SEQ developments, have suffered from not having the infrastructure it needs to flourish provide the cohesion it needs and the developments to be sustainable,” she said.

Councillor Carol Broad, from Bracebridge Heath Parish Council said a proposed new roundabout was too close to the nearby traffic lights on London Road and said the development needed to be set back from Canwick Avenue to “retain its character as a rural approach into Lincoln”.

She said the applicant had failed to demonstrate how density would be achieved and said: “Further work is required to the views and vistas with the proposed sightlines not maximising the important views of Upper Lincoln, including the cathedral.”

Ward Councillor Lindsey Cawrey said: “I have no confidence that this application is not just an opportunistic, sprawling extension of Bracebridge Heath. It does not demonstrate a sustainable relationship with Bracebridge Heath nor how the developments residents will access services especially in a village that is already over developed with insufficient retail provision and no alternative options for vehicular movement through the village and facilities beyond.”

David Stevenson, property director at Jesus College, told councillors the land for the school was located to “best meet the needs of the existing and new communities”.

He said the long-term aspirations of the college “clearly meld” with NKDC’s long-term plans and design guides.

“We’ve worked very closely with your planning colleagues, and really welcome the design guide because we’ve got a lot of land here. It is about a long-term relationship and it’s got to be right. It can become a community, we’re not here for a quick in and out.”

Council officers said there was a “large amount of detail” within the master plans which would be conditioned in to approval and would tackle some of the concerns raised.

Proposing approval, Councillor Terry Boston, said he understood the concerns from objectors, however, said: “A problem is that we are faced with a national requirement to provide housing. It’s necessary to be sustainable otherwise houses are going to be all over the place with no really joined-up writing, if you’d like to call it that.”

He urged the council to “nail our colours to the mast” over social housing on the site.

Councillors voted 12 in favour and one against.

Care home fears scupper 1,123 home plan

A masterplan for the larger plans before NKDC next week.

The same objectors spoke again against the application from Church Commissioners for England.

Mrs Manders said the Heath Christian Partnership felt the developers had missed the mark by having too high a density and less garden space as well as by placing a proposed care home behind the mobility hub.

She criticised a community building as being too small and noted it would be surrounded by a turning circle for buses. She said it was a “token gesture”.

“We feel that the church commissioners have missed a golden opportunity, have not served the old and proposed new community well, and in not creating an environment that will be good for the health and well being of the community.”

Councillor Broad said a single point of access to the site would be inadequate and the roundabout’s position close to an existing one would “cause significant congestion”.

She said Bracebridge Heath Parish Council sought reassurance about pedestrian connectivity and the safe movement of people between the build and the extended village and said the density of the plans were “excessive and unacceptably high”.

She also criticised the care home being within the employment area, called for better climate standards within the proposals and raised safety concerns around play areas near to drainage facilities.

“Regardless of the decision you take it’s clear that significant work is required,” she added.

Ward Councillor Lindsey Cawrey said she had “no confidence” that green space and active transport commitments would “ever make it beyond the drawing board”.

Council officers said the plans conformed with the broad concept plan and design codes for the SEQ.

They said there were “substantial” amounts of open space, opportunities for mitigation and public benefits to be gained from the development which would outweigh any harm caused.

Nolan Tucker, agent for the applicant said the Church Commissioners were long-term land owners in Lincolnshire and had been working with planning officers for a number of years on plans.

He said the application had addressed all the key technical and planning policy considerations including those controlling open space, drainage, cycle connections and landscaped areas.

“They are consistent with the SEQ’s broad content plan and design code, and they will ensure that the SEQ comes forward as a coordinated and design-led sustainable new community,” he said.

Councillors had some concerns over the single point of access, but were told by officers that there would be enough space to get emergency vehicles passed, with plans eventually to link the main road through to the final phase of the development.

The location of the care home was also a sticking point, with councillors advised they could remove it, but would only be able to examine the plans again if they came back at reserved matters stage, or look at moving it into another part of the plans.

Councillor Ian Carrington, proposing deferral, said: “It’s quite clear that there is a level of uncertainty about this.

“It is such a big application, it is so strategic, it is one of the two founding applications of the whole of the SEQ project. I do think that it’s reasonable that the committee should feel more certain about this case than it does.”

Councillors voted 13 in favour.

Infrastructure investment

In order to tackle infrastructure issues the 450-home development will be asked to provide 20% affordable housing, £3,742 per home on sustainable transport, £864 per home on recreation, £308 per home for a new community centre, £632.50 per home on health care and £684.50 per home towards education.

Councillors were told the development would provide three times the local plans open space requirements and that there was flexibility around when it could be brought forward.

The larger development will be asked to pay similar amounts, except in education where it would be asked to pay £2,486.50 per home.

In total, it is hoped nearly £15 million will be raised for infrastructure costs.