January 13, 2022 8.28 am This story is over 29 months old

Lincoln Western Growth Corridor “highlights wider issue” says leader as objectors left disappointed by approval

Congestion is already a huge issue in the city

City of Lincoln Council Leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe said he is relieved plans for a 3,200-home development in the city passed last night, admitting the plans highlighted a wider issue.

The authority’s full council, sitting as planning committee, voted 16 votes to 11 in favour of the Western Growth Corridor proposals from the council and landowners Lindum Western Growth Community Ltd on Wednesday night.

The council’s decision will now be passed to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to consider, as part of a call-in application by Lincolnshire County Council.

If given the go-ahead, the project will see a 240-hectare site to the north of Skellingthorpe Road developed to include a shopping centre, primary school, leisure facilities and a new football stadium.

Labour City Council leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe said he was “pleased but mostly relieved” by the vote, adding that it had “been a very, very long journey”.

“It’s not surprising that we would have spent five hours plus tonight deliberating on all of the considerations that we have to take into account,” he said.

He praised the planning staff and moved to reassure those disappointed by the decision that everyone’s concerns were taken into account, weighed, and balanced before councillors came down “on the side that there are far greater benefits then disadvantages”.

Labour leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe at the meeting on Wednesday. Image: City of Lincoln Council

However, he said the application and the objections to it highlighted a wider issue for the city in terms of its daily commute and “significant” traffic problems.

“With or without the Western Growth Corridor there are some radical responses required to that phenomena – which can only get worse over time.

“The answer to that in my contention is modal shift – getting more people out of the motor car.

“We’re seeing some hopeful signs of that already beginning to happen but we need to do far more because that in the end is going to be the answer. Today it’s the Western growth corridor with an increase of 80-odd vehicles at peak time, tomorrow, the next day, next year, five years time, 10 years time, the same challenges will occur over and over and over again.”

Those opposed to the plans said they are disappointed by the vote on Wednesday.

Visuals of the Western Growth Corridor project included in the City of Lincoln Council’s application.

Labour Hartsholme ward Councillor Biff Bean said he expected the decision, but added: “It is going to cause a lot of problems in my area for the people that I represent and also from a personal point of view is going to affect me because I work and live in the area as well.”

Conservative group leader at the City Council Councillor Thomas Dyer said: “Many local residents put forward some really, really, strong objections to the development – mainly on highways and flooding grounds – and it’s just really disappointing that the members of the controlling group all voted in favour of the application this evening.”

He hoped the Secretary of State would see the highways objections to the plans as “significant”, however, did not know if the application would qualify for call-in.

Councillor Biff Bean speaking out against the plans. Image: City of Lincoln Council

However, he added he was pleased Lincolnshire County Council and Lincoln MP Karl McCartney had applied to the Secretary of State.

Conservative Mr McCartney himself felt the vote was “a lot closer than a lot of people expected” with some “salient” points from councillors.

He added, however, that “it’s not done and dusted”.

“Nobody’s against the development, they just want to see it done in the best way possible, and for residents in that area of Lincoln, they want to see the congestion eased.

“They want to see traffic flowing. What they don’t want to see is 3,200 houses or even the first 300 or 600 or 700 or 1,000, increasing the congestion that everybody is subjected to already.”