Planners re-affirm support for Sleaford link road scheme across recreation ground

PLANNING permission for the Sleaford’s controversial link road scheme across Boston Road recreation ground has been re-affirmed by North Kesteven planning committee after a judicial review was dismissed.

The scheme would see the route from Mareham Lane to Boston Road provide access to both the Maltings redevelopment site and the new Tesco store to be built on the former Advanta Seeds site.

It was referred back to North Kesteven District Council’s Full Planning Committee on Tuesday April 24 to offer members an opportunity to review the scheme in the light of a High Court Judge’s dismissal in February of a Judicial Review against the Tesco Store planning permission, which he said was “not arguable”.

In making his decision, emphasis was drawn to the Link Road application and the need for the council to identify factors in favour of granting consent for the link road.

Members were asked to consider the potential overall economic regeneration impacts that will arise from the link road proposal and to consider these as part of the overall assessment of the scheme, along with the grounds claimed in the earlier Judicial Review.

Councillors 23 in favour and three against the committee’s previous position to grant permission for the link road.

Turnbull’s builders merchants had claimed that the closure of Southgate level crossing would cause difficulties for access and damage their business. The closure forms part of the scheme, as requested by Network Rail once a new bridge is built to carry the new road over the line.

Turnbull’s solicitors had requested the matter be deferred to give them more time to respond to the committee report from officers, as well as calling for an independent highways consultant to look at the claims. These arguments were rejected by NKDC’s chief executive Ian Fytche and his major developments manager.

In their report to members, officers stated the benefits overwhelmingly weigh in favour of the scheme, representing sustainable development, allowing greater flexibility and access arrangements to key town centre sites and sustainable transport opportunities, along with the wealth of outstanding economic development opportunities. They claimed that redevelopment of that part of the town would allow for improved access to Turnbull’s site.

Officers also insisted the link road would be required to complete the Maltings and Tesco redevelopments.