LETTER: Strongly opposed to Handley Chase development

Having viewed the revised proposals for an astonishing 1,400 dwellings which Sleaford does not need, I would like to register my vehement opposition to them.

The planned development lies outside the curtilage of the town on a long standing greenfield site.

To my knowledge this is the third or fourth proposal of one form or another for this site and it’s abundantly clear that the owner(s) of this land is determined to push through this unnecessary development.

This proposal represents almost 30 per cent of the 4,000 homes NKDC have identified a need for over the next 25 years, in one town on one site, it would also represent 20 per cent of the total population of Sleaford.

As most homes have two vehicles it would also generate an extra 2,800 cars in the south of the town.

If there is such a need for vast housing schemes, turning Sleaford from a market town into an urban sprawl and all existing brownfield sites have been developed, then and only then we may have to look at greenfield sites. Any such greenfield site must be suitable though, with suitable roads and access, quite clearly this site does not have any of these.

The proposed development would cause catastrophic traffic congestion to the south of the town in particular Silk Willoughby, Quarrington, Ickworth Road, Victoria Avenue, St Edmund’s Road and Ancaster Drive, which would all serve as shortcuts onto London and Grantham Roads.

On an average day it already takes between 15-20 minutes to travel by car from one side of town to the other, with the town centre at a standstill through Southgate and along Carre Street, with queuing traffic onto Grantham Road, Boston Road and Northgate.

A further 1,400 dwellings and their associated cars, will only add to this misery, driving people away from the town centre, to shop as they already do, in Lincoln and more accessible places, with thriving town centres.

The town centre is and has been for a number of years in decline, even with the large numbers of houses developed over the past 20 years. So for the developers to claim additional dwellings and people would bring investment into the town is pure folly.

Sleaford is a rural market town and does not have the infrastructure in place to support housing to this extent, let alone on the south of the town with its existing roads. Sleaford is already lacking in all-important jobs, both full-time and part-time, with most people commuting to work outside of the town, let alone shops, schools, doctors, dentists and leisure facilities. No matter how the developers dress this up in the guise of “investing in” Sleaford, we all recognise that at the heart of this proposal it’s all about making money.

There are brownfield sites within the town curtilage that should and could be developed before any considerations are given to greenfield sites outside the town curtilage. A regeneration of brownfield sites would be beneficial on so many levels and may even lead to rejuvenating the town centre, with its numerous empty shops, pubs and flats, instead of creating mini ‘villages’ on the outskirts of the town and keeping people out of the town centre.

If the developers are so concerned about Sleaford, as they say they are, then surely they should invest their money into existing brownfield sites, such as The Maltings, St Botolph’s old school, Bonner House, etc, and the town centre itself. No doubt, if this proposal went ahead it would be promptly followed by the adjoining land being developed and eventually the joining up of Sleaford, Silk Willoughby and Quarrington. Of course any future developments are conveniently omitted from the current drawings on display, even though it is plain to see that at least double the land would suddenly become free for further developments. Perhaps over 2,800 dwellings, 7,000 people?

I fail to see how the council’s reason for refusal for planning on June 1, 2009 has changed and I will oppose this development at every given opportunity.

Simon Titley