July 6, 2022 4.08 pm This story is over 23 months old

Plans scrapped for Sleaford pub and nursery after no interest in four years

More houses will be built on the land instead

A major housing extension in Sleaford will no longer get a pub or nursery after developers struggled to find people to run them.

The 1450-home Handley Chase development was supposed to deliver facilities for its future residents.

However, plans for the pub and nursery have been abandoned for the time being after four years on the market without any interest.

18 additional houses will be built on the site off London Road instead.

Future applications could relocate the pub and nursery closer to the main road to make them more attractive to operators.

Councillors said that reallocating the land was better than ending up with an unused “barren wilderness” in the middle of the development.

However, they warned that they didn’t want the promised facilities to disappear.

Councillor Richard Wright told North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee: “We don’t just want an urban sprawl – we need infrastructure which makes the development a nice place to live.

“We can’t just leave the site on the open market forever, creating a desert in the middle of the homes. It will become a barren wilderness with anti-social behaviour.

“It would look a mess simply because we want to see the building according to our designs.”

Designs for some of the 18 new houses near London Road, Sleaford | Photo: T. Balfe Construction

However, other councillors were reluctant to amend the previous plans.

Councillor David Suiter said: “I am concerned that the local centre will start disappearing and we will end up with more houses.

“A lot of the four years in which it was marketed was during Covid, and many firms are looking at changing their business models. It’s too soon to say that developments which haven’t had interest yet are unviable. We should expect them to continue marketing it.”

The Handley Chase plans were originally passed in 2017.

It is a joint development between four firms, with T. Balfe Construction to deliver the new 18 homes.

Council officer Nick Feltham told the meeting that another location in the site could potentially be used for the pub and nursery at a later date.

“The public house offer has been marketed for four years, and no operator has come forward. We can grant permission and require it to be marketed, but we can’t require there to be an operator given the economic circumstances,” he said.

“Tentative queries have suggested that a frontage onto London Road would be preferable. The undeveloped opportunity could be retained in case the economic climate changes or the demand emerges.”

The planning committee approved it by eight votes to three.

The local centre has also promised a health centre, a community centre and four shops with offices above.

The Co-op shop is already open, and the shops are on the market.