Council to build homes on Spalding playing field?

Controversial plans for South Holland District Council to build affordable homes on a Spalding playing field could be resurrected.

Welland Homes, the housing company solely owned by South Holland District Council, submitted an outline planning application to build up to 24 homes on land off Severn Road designated as public open space in 2016.

A decision on that application was never reached and it remains listed as “undecided” on SHDC’s own planning portal.

The authority’s Mid Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) this week comes before the council’s cabinet and Severn Road is among the projects listed to receive some of the £16.5million of funding for the Affordable Housing Programme.

According to the MTFS £30,000 is being allocated to the Severn Road development in this financial year and a further £2.9m in the 2019/20 budget.

Spalding and District Civic Society objected to the 2016 application for the site which they say will take up 42 per cent of the current public open space next to the Coronation Channel and close to the St Paul’s Primary School playing fields.

The society’s David Jones told The Voice recently: “We have far too little public open green space in Spalding, 44 per cent less than we should have.

“The council said (in the 2016 application) that in that particular ward there was more than the required amount of green space, and that would justify taking some of it away – but when it’s gone, it’s gone.

“We have measured the space considered by the council, and we found that their calculation included random strips of grass that could not be used for any public recreational purpose.”

The Design and Access statement submitted with the application in 2016 says of the playing area: “The council has confirmed that the existing play area is in poor condition and there are no funds available for its refurbishment or replacement.”

It continues: “Although there is a net loss of open space as a result of the proposed development, there is an identified surplus of amenity greenspace in the St Paul’s Ward.

“Notwithstanding this, it is proposed as part of the development to provide measures which will result in improvements to other forms of recreation, namely a new equipped area for play, enhanced access to the new facility and enhanced access to the wider countryside beyond.”

A council spokesman said: “The site at Severn Road was given outline planning permission in 2017 and we are actively considering options on the site at the present time.”

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