Plans to turn a commercial site in Holbeach into a seven-house residential plot have been refused.
The housing development proposed for the former Swepstones site on Battlefields Lane was unanimously turned down last Wednesday, by South Holland District Council’s planning committee on the grounds that commercial land would be lost and it is too far from town.
Planning officers recommended that the application be approved but during deliberation, the committee raised a number of issues that swung the vote.
A major problem was the location of the site. Given residents would have to cross the A17 to access Holbeach’s shops and services, committee members decided the location wasn’t suitable.
When asked, the council’s principal planning officer Phil Norman said the lack of a Local Plan worked in the application’s favour.
“If we had an up to date local plan and a five year supply and this is out the boundary it’s a straight no. We’re not in that position so we need a reason as to why it’s not sustainable development,” he said.
However, committee members were not satisfied quality of life could be guaranteed due to the traffic.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the committee, said: “From a sustainability point of view I do not see it as a good site to expect people to live on. Even if that wasn’t a particularly busy and increasingly busy road I’d still struggle to say it’s a great site for people to live on and for the type of housing that is likely to be there. The outside space, particularly in summer months, is going to be virtually unusable unless you’ve got earplugs or ear defenders on.”
He added: “People should be able to walk to amenities when you live in a reasonable sized town. Here you’ve got the A17 to encounter, and these houses are likely to contain families. Would you trust children to cross A17?”
The heavy traffic the on the A17 was a concern to all.
Coun Michael Seymour said: “That section of the A17, according to Lincolnshire County Council, is busier than the A1 at Grantham. It can take you 10 to 15 minutes to cross that road to go to Spalding.”
Coun Christopher Brewis added: “To get to facilities it is a bit of a long tortuous route, you don’t just pop across the road for shopping you’ve got to take a long journey. People take their lives in their hands trying to cross the A17.”
The loss of a commercial site was also an issue, as was the former use of the site.
Coun Seymour said it is “contaminated with asbestos.”
Coun Rodney Grocock concluded the issue: “I don’t think we should lose any more land.”
The site owners have tried to sell the site for commercial use but have had no takers.