Horncastle’s population could rocket by almost 60 per cent if developers get the green light for a number of new housing developments.
That is the conclusion of Horncastle Town Council’s planning and development committee in a damning report into controversial plans to develop four sites - Langton Hill, Mareham Road, Churchill Avenue and Wesley Way.
They say the town’s population could grow from the 2011 census figure of 7,073 to around 11,000.
The report forecasts a minimum of 886 new homes could be built, leading to an influx of almost 4,000 new residents - including 2,000 children.
It adds that even if the estimate is high, the numbers involved would have a “major and unacceptable” impact on the town.
The report warns Horncastle’s “outdated” infrastructure is not capable of taking any significant additions to drainage and sewerage systems.
It highlights the increasing risk of flooding - both in Horncastle and in villages lower down the River Bain.
It also says a “fragile road system” could not cope with the expected increase in traffic levels.
Committee members ask how existing schools and medical services would be accommodated by the increase in population.
And the report says town centre businesses could be “decimated” by new out-of-town retail facilities.
Current proposals feature plans for 561 homes - 300 at Langton Hill, 129 at Mareham Road, 106 at Churchill Avenue and 26 at Wesley Way.
However, committee members claim work has not started on another 150 new homes within the town that have already secured planning permission.
They also describe the Wesley Way proposals as ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and say the company involved has access to adjacent land that could lead to between 150 and 200 more houses being built.
The report calls for Section 106 agreements to be imposed on builders and developers to cover the increased demand for schools places, new doctors surgeries, improvements to the infra structure and roads, as well as community based amenities.
The reports recognises the importance of new flood defences to the north of Horncastle but calls for developers to pay between £7-8m into a separate flood relief fund.
Lincolnshire County Council has already said it will press for developers at Langton Hill to pay almost £1m towards improving educational facilities.
The planning committee report also says the number of houses far outweighs the suggested number of 34 new properties a year which will be included in ELDC’s official core planning strategy which is due to be adopted next year.
Town councillors are supporting the Churchill Avenue project which would create 106 social housing units.
However, the committee is calling for ELDC to reject the three other applications - and any future large scale developments.
The report is written by Councillor Richard Barker, chairman of the planning and development committee.
It states: “The number of houses are out all proportion to the size and character of Horncastle.”
“ELDC are reminded to consider all local objections as part of the Government’s localism criteria.”
Coun Barker told the News: “When I first talked about 100’s of new homes being planned for Horncastle, I was accused of scare mongering. I Wonder what those people think now.”