“Don’t stuff a rural village with urban-type houses!”
That was the plea from Coun Pat Woodman as a North Kesteven District Council planning sub-committee approved a controversial outline proposal for construction of up to 142 homes on two farm fields off the A607 Grantham Road in Waddington.
Coun Woodman, who chaired the committee, continued: “It is essential that the development enhances the village - the last thing we want is a scheme that is off the shelf or out of a book.”
Because members could find no valid planning reason to refuse the application, the committee voted 15-5 in favour of the application, but several - including ward representatives Coun Peter Burley, Coun Lindsey Cawrey and Coun Mike Gallagher - made no secret of their dislike of it.
“We don’t want Identikit houses dropped in from somewhere else,” insisted Coun Cawrey.
The committee was advised that some 47 of Waddington’s 6,000-strong population also wrote or emailed the council to express objections on the grounds of highway danger, traffic congestion, overlooking of existing homes, interference with radar at the RAF base, sewage overload, plus population pressure on both the primary school and the GPs’ surgery.
Some are also dismayed about the impact on wildlife - particularly hares and farmland birds, including raptors, for which the fields provide a valuable feeding and breeding habitat.
One of the more bizarre of the protests was that existing shops might not be able to accommodate the extra trade.
In a forceful presentation, villager Therese Smith described the proposed development as ‘both unwanted and unnecessary’.
The committee also heard from Philip Cosker of Waddington Parish Council, who said: “This is not a case of not-in-my-backyard but of not-in-our dream-fields.”
However, Mark Waters - agent for the applicants, Gladman Developments Ltd - struck a positive note, reminding councillors the proposal would bring economic benefits both during the construction phase and afterwards when there would be more expenditure in local shops and increased council tax revenue for NKDC.
However, quizzed by councillors, he was unable to offer any assurance that, if approved, the development might not be a precursor to a future application for further housing on the adjacent field.
Last Tuesday, the application was approved by 15 votes to five, with one of the conditions being that none of the houses will be higher than two storeys.
Details of the proposed layout of the development and the style of the houses will be submitted to the council at a later date.