District planners say historic orchard is safe

RESIDENTS in the Sleaford area’s newest village are calling for ‘no more houses’ and to ‘leave our orchard alone’ after learning of another planning application.

David Wilson Homes is planning to erect 100 new homes near to an historic orchard which used to belong to the former Rauceby Hospital, the site of which is now Greylees village.

Greylees residents were concerned that the latest phase of development in the village would destroy the orchard and a group of them have set up an on-line petition to stop the new development from happening, urging the developers to ‘leave our orchard alone’.

One of the campaigners, Iain Simpson, said: “I was brought up on a farm so have been close to nature all of my life. When I moved out I chose Greylees because of the amount of green spaces and woodland the village has to offer, so was angry when I heard of the latest plans to build in our beautiful village.”

But the planning authority, North Kesteven District Council, has given assurances the proposed housing development will not include the orchard, which is preserved under a Section 106 agreement.

An NKDC spokesman said: “The application under consideration is about changes to 100 of the homes permitted under the phase 2 planning approvals. The submitted plans are for amendments to the type of house, relocation and reorientation of some of the plots previously approved.

“NKDC is currently examining the application’s merits and comparing it against the planning permissions for phase 2. The application is due to be decided before August 1.”

David Wilson HOmes had submitted a similar application to North Kesteven District Council in 2008 but this was refused due to the proposed development being within the Rauceby Hospital registered park, a garden of special historic interest and partly within the Conservation Area.

A new application was then submitted in 2009 with amended proposals that protected the historic orchard planting, which was approved by district planners.

The latest application, submitted last month relates to a change to the types of houses, relocation and reorientation of some of the plots previously approved.

Mark Wright, managing director of David Wilson Homes North Midlands, said: “In May this year David Wilson Homes submitted a re-plan to an already consented application from 2009.

“As a homebuilder, we recognise the vital role that open spaces play in an environment which is why we have committed to restore the remaining part of this orchard, so that it can be used for the enjoyment of everyone in the surrounding community.”