District council officers are recommending plans to extend a residential mobile home park be refused by North Kesteven’s planning committee.
Tim Wells, the owner of Orchard Park, off Priory Road in Ruskington, is applying to change the use of an adjacent piece of land he owns to extend the park.
According to a report by officials for next Tuesday’s planning committee, if approved the land would be occupied by 25 park home style units with the main access being via an existing emergency access road linked to the current site.
It is proposed there would be pedestrian access only between the the new site and the current park, but officers have pointed out previous applications to develop the land have been blocked due to flood risk, inadequate drainage, being agricultural land outisside the curtilage of the village and next to a sewage works.
A number of Orchard Park residents have objected, as has Ruskington Parish Council, due to the increased impact of traffic on a narrow country lane with safety issues for pedestrians using the road. They were also concerned about the closeness to the sewage treatment works and poultry units, flood risk and that this was not a site earmarked for further housing.
Anglian Water warned that the development would lead to an unacceptable risk of flooding downstream, while the Environment Agency had serious concerns about its proximity to the poultry unit.
Officers recommend refusal saying it is an inappropriate location for housing growth in the village “representing an unwelcome piecemeal expansion of the village encroaching into open countryside”. They say insufficient information has been offered to prove there are not better sites in the village less prone to flooding.
In response, Simon Nicholas of the applicant’s agents Paul Robinson Partnership, has countered with a letter to planners. He writes: “The existing residential home has consent for 70 units although only 60 units are currently positioned on the site. While the application seeks consent for a further 25 units, it is highlighted the nett increase to the existing site licence will only be 15 units.”
Within that 60 there are also plans to replace four of the existing units with less, larger units. The new units would also be more spaced out to suit the needs of modern users. He added that by downsizing into these small park style homes for retirement it would free up more housing stock locally too.
He also contended that the site was a natural extension to the village and was not on agricultural land. He said the park has a waiting list for this type of accommodation.
Mr Nicholas argues that the county highways department had no objections and pointed out the sewage works was now only a pumping station with odour not being a problem.
Mr Nicholas added: “With regard to the chicken farm, there has similarly never been a problem or cause to raise concern.
“The units have been carefully sited to avoid the flood zone and to further ensure the safety of the residents, a flood evacuation plan will be put into place with direct alert contact from the Environment Agency. The residents can receive ample warning to leave the site to a place of refuge.”
The planning committee will meet at NKDC’s offices in Sleaford at 5pm on Tuesday to decide.