January 20, 2022 1.26 pm

Government rejects attempt to derail Lincoln Western Growth Corridor development

‘Planning decisions should be made at local level’

An attempt to get government to derail the 3,200-home Western Growth Corridor plans has been rejected.

Lincolnshire County Council asked the government’s secretary of state Michael Gove to call in the plans and decide on them himself, saying their objections could not be overcome. They were backed in their attempt by Lincoln MP Karl McCartney.

However, fewer than 10 days after City of Lincoln councillors voted in favour of approving the plans amid a backlash from opposition, the government has declined to get involved.

A letter to the City of Lincoln Council said: “The government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.

“In deciding whether to call in this application, the Secretary of State has considered his policy on calling in planning applications.

“This policy gives examples of the types of issues which may lead him to conclude, in his opinion that the application should be called in.

“The Secretary of State has decided not to call in this application. He is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.”

Labour leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe at the planning meeting earlier this month. | Image: City of Lincoln Council

Council leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe has already responded, saying the council was “pleased” by the decision which gave city councillors the “ability to make the ultimate decision for the site”.

“The planning application has significant local importance; it is policy compliant and allocated within the Local Plan,” he said.

“Government has responded quickly and favourably in refusing the call-in and allowing us to progress with the project.

“The decision notice for the site has now been successfully issued, and I look forward with the project starting in the near future.”

The council is working with Lindum Western Growth Community Ltd to develop the site.

Plans for the Western Growth Corridor include up to 3,200 homes, a hotel, leisure complex and Lincoln City football stadium.

Director Mark Foster said: “We are delighted that the plans have not been called in by the Secretary of State and we are now looking forward to re-engaging with the local community, ward councillors and Lincolnshire County Council as highways authority, to deliver a scheme that’s right for Lincoln.

“We have taken note of concerns raised during the application process, and articulated on the night of the Committee, and we want to work together to ensure we get this right.

“It has taken many years of hard work to get to this point and we are pleased to see the scheme now gathering momentum.”

The full Western Growth Corridor proposals include:

  • Up to 3,200 homes, with a local centre comprising of retail and commercial units and a new primary school
  • A commercial employment area of up to 20 hectares
  • A regional sport and leisure complex, including a new stadium, health and leisure facilities, a hotel and ancillary food and drink elements

Full details can be found here.

The council says the proposals will tackle the city’s traffic difficulties and housing and businesses needs as well as create better paid jobs, and leisure provision.

Proponents said it will bring more than £500 million worth of investment into Lincoln.

Those against the plans fear they could instead lead to increased traffic congestion and flood risk.

Lincolnshire County Council has been contacted for a response.