Education chiefs could have delivered a devastating blow to plans for a controversial new housing estate in Horncastle.
Developers Gladman have submitted an application for up to 300 new homes at Langton Hill, as revealed in the News last week.
The scheme - combined with proposals for another 300 new homes at three other sites in the town - has attracted widespread opposition.
Now, Lincolnshire County Council has revealed that if the Langton Hill project does go ahead, any developers would have to pay more than £800,000 to improve educational facilities in the town.
The cash injection is needed after figures show the town’s two secondary schools are operating at full capacity and there are only 10 spare places at the town’s primary school. The news comes just hours after a campaign group - set up to oppose the development - announced they will hold a public meeting next Tuesday, October 15, at the Stanhope Hall (7pm).
Campaign group spokesman David Rice said: “We’re hoping as many people as possible attend the meeting.
“Obviously, we are concerned with Langton Hill, but we are worried about the impact all the proposed developments will have on Horncastle. Up to 600 new homes would spoil the character of the town and put pressure on existing facilities which are struggling to cope.”
Mr Rice said the group welcomed the county council announcement regarding education but warned developers had ‘vast funds.’
He added: “A company like Gladman will not have gone into this without knowing the full consequences.”
Details of the extra funding are contained in a report sent by the county council’s children’s services department to planners at East Lindsey District Council. The report describes the Langton Hill project as a ‘substantial development,’ which will result in a direct impact on local schools.
The council estimates the development will lead to a demand for 53 secondary school places at £18,489 each and ten school-based sixth form places at £20,030 each.
The total bill would be £1,084,824.
However, the council says it is prepared to accept a 24 per cent reduction to £824,466 because two schools currently provide places for pupils that ‘may have a closer school.’
The report adds: “Without a capital contribution, the education infrastructure would be unable to match pupil numbers.”
It suggests the money is paid by instalments at every 100th home completed at the development to allow what it calls ‘timely investment.’
The figure of more than £800,000 does not include demand for school places created by other developments at Mareham Road (129 homes), Churchill Avenue (106 homes) or Wesley Way (21 homes).
In addition, it is thought other large scale applications could be in the pipeline.
The News had also learned work on more than 100 new properties, which have already received planning permission, has yet to start.
Campaigners at Langton Hill say their main objection surrounds what would be a hill top development which would have a detrimental impact on the skyline.
They point out the development would be contrary to the local plan and would prejudice the emerging neighbourhood development plan.
They also raise several other objections, including access and the risk of flooding.
Gladman counter by saying the development would boost the local economy and create hundreds of jobs over the estimated five years of construction.
The company stresses plans - which would include a holding lake - would not create a flooding risk.