October 6, 2022 10.31 am This story is over 18 months old

Flats to replace Canwick Road shop – but no money for schools or NHS

The developer claimed it wouldn’t be profitable otherwise

A major Canwick Road project has been approved – but the developer has got away without paying towards Lincoln’s schools and health services.

Councillors narrowly passed plans for 47 apartments and two shops on the site of the former Carpets 4 Less.

The companies behind new homes are usually expected to contribute towards local schools, NHS and affordable housing.

To the anger of the planning committee, developer Sarwar Aziz claimed that the project wouldn’t be profitable if he was expected to pay additional costs.

City of Lincoln Council had recommended £1.2 million would be put towards affordable housing – £11,000 for education, £17,000 for the NHS and £38,000 for open spaces.

The contentious plans were passed by a margin of five to four.

The former carpet shop will now be demolished and replaced with a five-storey apartment building.

An artist’s impression of the building

Labour Councillor Bob Bushell said it was “appalling that a developer can design something so close to the edge of viability.

“All the people living in these apartments will be utilising existing resources without making any contribution.

“This is also one of the worst areas for air pollution in the city, and another tall building won’t help.”

Councillor Gary Hewson said: “If it puts pressure on other facilities, it will bring the quality of living down. People will find it harder to get doctors’ appointments and get their children into schools.”

Councillor Rebecca Longbottom also raised concerns about the location on the junction with Dunford Road.

“The pavements are narrow and the traffic is fast. Whenever I walk that route towards South Park, it’s deeply unpleasant,” she warned.

“It will be difficult for people living there to get in and out of the building.”

The developer won’t make contributions to Lincoln’s facilities

Conservation Councillor Mark Storer said he wasn’t happy with the lack of contributions but the plans were “a big improvement” over the current site.

Councillor Thomas Dyer also pointed out that the impact would be limited as “it is 47 apartments, not thousands.”

Five councillors reluctantly voted the plans through despite the lack of contributions.

The developer’s claim that the project wouldn’t be able to go ahead with the costs was backed up by an independent assessment.

However, this will be revisited if it is unexpectedly profitable.