A decision on developers’ plans to build nearly 50 homes in a Lincoln village has been delayed for a site visit by councillors – while a complaint has also been lodged with West Lindsey District Council.
Lindum and Acis Group’s plans for 49 homes off Hawks Road, in Welton, appeared before the authority’s planning committee on Wednesday.
The discussion was almost scuppered initially following a complaint received by councillors around the conduct of officers and Welton Parish Council.
Members were told an email had been sent which was currently being investigated by the monitoring officer and included a request not to to determine the application.
However, lead officer George Backovic said: “Having read through it it’s a fairly substantial response and appears to relate to issues with the developer of the site [as well as the complaint about the conduct of officers and parish council] itself but there’s nothing in that letter that would prohibit members from reaching a decision on the application tonight.”
Vice chairman Councillor Robert Waller, along with Councillor Jessie Milne moved that the item should be deferred until investigations were completed, however the vote was lost by four votes to seven.
Having read the letter legal advisor Martha Rees said she had no problem with members continuing to determine: “All members are trained and know if they need to declare an interest, all members have got all the information before them.”
Recommending approval, officers said the plans, which will include a mix of houses and bungalows for over 55s along with 12 homes classed as affordable, would provide “effective” use of the land and not create “unacceptable harm”.
The site is allocated for housing in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.
Mark Foster, land and planning director at Lindum Homes spoke at the meeting.
He said: “We don’t build many market houses, so when we do the quality of those houses and the sites we choose are vitally important to us – the site in Welton was no different.
“The layout itself is extremely low density – incorporating more open space than required by planning policy.”
He said the proposals had taken account of local residents’ feedback, including increased separation distances and better mitigation around the impact on neighbours’ homes.
Objectors to the plans said they presented a risk of overdevelopment and would have a longterm risk to the village infrastructure as well as biodiversity, residential amenity, the character of the village and highway safety.
Resident Nigel Heward, speaking on behalf of his daughter, said he was objecting to the access to the site from Hawks Road, calling the existing infrastructure “not fit for purpose”.
He said there was a lack of footpath provision at the proposed entry, limiting accessibility for, for example, disabled residents or for children riding bikes.
“If anyone comes into Hawks Road that way it’s an accident waiting to happen,” he said, calling on councillors to defer the plans until better roadways were provided.
Lincolnshire County Council, as statutory consultees on highways, had not lodged any objections.
Chairman Councillor Ian Fleetwood recommended deferring the plans for a site visit following the speakers’ concerns and some questions around the issues.
He said: “There’s a little bit of doubt here with regard to how people are understanding the plan and the access with regard to Hawks Road.
“I think it would be good for the committee to have a look at that on ground.”
The move was approved 10 votes to one.
As part of the plans the developers will be asked to make a £30,992.50 contribution to Welton Surgery so it can reconfigure its existing layout to create a larger clinical space and more flexibility to manage the projected patient increase.
A decision is now due to be made at the next planning committee meeting on February 2.
A spokesman for West Lindsey District Council said: “We are aware of a complaint made in respect of this application and will conduct an internal investigation as per normal procedure.”
No further details have been released about the complaint.