An outline plan by supermarket giant Tesco for a new retail park, retirement home and bowls club in Sleaford was given the go-ahead last night.
North Kesteven district councillors approved the plans for the former Advanta Seeds site off Boston Road, which officers at the authority predict will bring growth and jobs to the town.
The proposal will see six new shops and a new drive-thru coffee shop built, as well as a total of 450 new parking spaces.
One of the new units will be designed for a “bulky goods” store with garden centre attached, while another will be a food outlet.
The remaining four smaller shops will be used for retail and there will be a drive through coffee shop or restaurant.
A 58 room retirement home will also be built as part of the development and a new bowling club to replace the existing Bristol Bowls Club which will make way for a new, two lane access road.
The access road junction with Boston Road formed part of the debate, in which NKDC Development Manager Mark Willietts explained that highways officers had decided that traffic lights would conflict with the entrances to Sleaford Ford garage. Instead it would be a simple T-junction, without a right turn lane, as it had been established that arrangement acted as a better traffic calming measure, preventing drivers from accelerating up Boston Road.
Mr Willietts added that there was no longer a need for such a large access road as had been required for the supermarket which would have linked Boston Road and Mareham Lane via a railway bridge, as there would be far less traffic created and there was no longer the funding for the link road. He said this allowed the route to be re-aligned through the bowls club and there would no longer be a need to close Southgate level crossing.
Tesco has also agreed to provide £150,000 in contributions for affordable housing off-site.
Mark Aylward, speaking for applicants Tesco, said some of the total number of spaces would be dedicated to the bowls club, the retirement home and staff parking at the stores, but still leaving over 300 short-term spaces giving people enough time to venture into town as well, this was a key element of negotiations that had only been concluded between the company and NKDC officers. The scheme would now be sold on to developers to complete the work.
The site was bought by Tesco but the multi-million pound plans for a new store there were shelved in January 2015 after the company had to drastically reassess its expansion plans.
Council officers said the new plan will help to bring a retail park close to the town centre and will include a footpath leading through to the high street.
Coun Ian Carrington said the site is important to help regenerate Sleaford.
“It will play a vital role in revitalising the town,” he said.
“It’s not only important for Sleaford, but the whole of the district and we want to see it prosper.
“Every market town cannot stand still, they must move forward.”
Meanwhile, Counc Kate Cook said the development was “much needed” for the area.
She said: “The town really does need something like this to regenerate it.”
But concern was raised about an increase in delivery lorries and heavy goods vehicles using the town centre as a route to the park.
Councillors approved the development, but asked for a traffic management plan to be written up as one of the conditions for permission to address the concern over delivery vehicles, which could dictate when and which routes the lorries could take.
After the meeting Tesco’s planning agent Mr Aylward said he was pleased to see the site finally being developed after such a long time working on the project, but added a note of caution about not making the delivery lorry restrictions too tight that it deters potential retailers from moving in.
A Tesco spokesperson added: “We welcome the council’s decision to approve our planning application for the former Advanta Seeds site in Sleaford. We’ll continue to work with the council and local community as our plans develop.”