Destructive weed causing hold-up on building site

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Planning news.

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An extremely invasive weed has halted a council housing scheme in its tracks until a way can be found to remove it.

A planning application for land off Duke Street, Sleaford, would see 11 flats, four houses and one bungalow built but will be put on hold until November after withdrawal from last Tuesday’s North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee.

The council needs additional time to look into options to fully comply with legislation regarding Japanese Knotweed which has been discovered on the site.

Japanese Knotweed left un-treated can penetrate and damage roads, walls and foundations. It can spread from only a small fragment, is treated as ‘controlled waste’ and it is an offence to allow it to spread. Removal can be costly as all contaminated soil has to be dug out and dumped at least 5m below the surface, untouched for at least four years.

Now the council has to decide whether it or the current land owner should foot the removal bill, whether to prevent it spreading and build around it or scrap the whole scheme.

A North Kesteven District Council property services spokesman said: “There are cost implications as it is a social housing scheme and the figures have to stack up. It has very much held things up.”

The planning committee had deferred the original application to improve designs to be more in keeping with the conservation area and reduce the number of properties by one.