Industrial units plan raises policy question

NKDC offices
NKDC offices

A district councillor has called for a decision on whether to permit construction of six industrial units to be made by planning committee after officers recommended the scheme to be turned down.

Local ward councillor Nick Byatt expressed concerns when North Kesteven District Council planning officers were minded to rule against the application by Munks Agricultural Contractors to demolish storage sheds on the former Nocton Nurseries complex close to the B1188 and build six metal units with parking.

The wider 18 hectare site is largely agricultural buildings, accessed from the B1202.

In the report to NKDC’s planning sub-committee on February 4, the applicant says the existing buildings were already used for light/general industrial or storage.

Despite officers’ opposition on grounds that it is remote and not in a designated area for employment under the Local Plan, conversion of neighbouring redundant agricultural buildings to the same uses and the building of an office was recently permitted by the council. Dunston parish council has raised no objections, and NKDC’s own Economic Development unit supports the proposal insisting: “The site in question is an existing employment site and the proposal represents appropriate development for which as the applicant suggests, there is strong demand.”

Coun Byatt added that it could provide needed smaller scale units locally when nearby Metheringham industrial park was already full.

He said: “That at least implies there is demand locally. The distance from Nocton to Teal Park employment site at Hykeham is 13 miles. That is a 30-minute drive and the council has declared a climate emergency. I am giving the council the opportunity to start weaving it into its policy.”

A NKDC spokesman said it was for councillors to ultimately decide, taking into account planning policy and any representations made: “The onus in instances such as this is for the applicant to demonstrate why the proposal is not suitable to be located within existing allocated employment sites, and similarly to address issues of sustainability in respect of suitability of location.”