Councillors have approved plans to build more than 400 homes near Grantham with developers set to fund highways improvements – as they avoid paying almost £1 million towards education.
The plans for 228 homes on land at Rectory Farm by Vistry East Midlands and for 220 homes next door by Jelson form phase one of the Rectory Farm development.
They were originally recommended to include a combined Section 106 contribution of £2,673,318 towards education.
However, two years of delays signing off the proposals meant they had to be approved again, but this time the developers were asked to pay £1,716,408 – a difference of £956,910.
Councillors were told this “unexpected news” was because Lincolnshire County Council had additional primary school capacity than when the plans were originally approved.
Both plans have had a number of amendments, including changes to house types and roadways, including some tree lined avenues, and better connections to future phases of the site.
The applicants argued that a request to contribute to £1.6million of improvements at the A1/A52 junction will “more than offset” the reduction in education funding.
The works have surfaced after a Designer Outlet Village approved the year prior had not come forward for development in time to progress the improvements, leaving the Rectory Farm proposals to pick up the baton.
Officers said this would also mean there could not be an increase in affordable housing provision.
Ward Councillor Kaffy Rice-Oxley praised much of the report, saying: “There’s lots to like here and lots to look forward to.
“It’s a natural extension of the town and the northwest Quadrant.”
However, she called on councillors to consider some of the key contributions to a community centre, and some concerns over the lack of a roundabout on the A1/A52 junction.
Councillors also raised concerns over who would pay for the junction improvements and how safe the new measures would be.
Both Councillor Rice-Oxley and County Councillor Mark Whittington suggested the use of a ghost island was a downgrade.
“It’s a very nasty junction to come out of,” said Councillor Whittington.
“I don’t think the safety issue for cyclists and motorists has been considered,” he added, particularly looking to the future Southern Relief Road being built.
“I really don’t think the works there are sufficient,” he said, calling for the S106 agreement to be “nailed down…so developers can’t escape from their obligations”.
Discussions also centred around a lack of bungalows, however, councillors voted unanimously to pass the plans.