Five hundred new homes could be built in Horncastle in one of the biggest development projects in the town’s history.
Owners of Crowders, a family owned garden business, have revealed details of the scheme which would cover a huge site off Lincoln Road, stretching all the way to Elmhirst Road.
If successful, the development could take the number of new homes being considered for Horncastle to more than 1,000.
Several other schemes, including Langton Hill and Mareham Road, have already received outline planning permission.
In an exclusive interview with the News, Robert Crowder said their ambitious project would help ease flooding issues in the town and create new jobs.
As part of the plans, the internationally renowned Crowders Garden Centre would re-locate to the eastern side of Lincoln Road and form phase two of the new development. Phase one would be the first 118 new homes.
The garden centre would increase in size, adding to the 85 jobs currently based at Crowders.
The new estate - 30 per cent of which would be affordable housing - would also include a care facility, adding to job opportunities.
Mr Crowder said no decision had been made on what would happen to the existing garden centre site but he ruled out suggestions it could become a major supermarket.
He admitted there would be opposition to the scheme but stressed Horncastle could not afford to stand-still.
Although Crowders will not actually be developing the site, he said Section 106 funding would be available to improve schools and health facilities.
Mr Crowder said: “We have been working on these plans for two years so this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to anything else that is going on in the area.
“Our business and our family have been part of the local community for 217 years and for seven generations.
“There is still life left in us and we are not going anywhere fast.
“The future of the local community is really important to us. We’re not here today, gone tomorrow speculators.
“We are looking at the long term sustainable development of Horncastle.”
Mr Crowder confirmed the family owned company had already spent more than £100,000 on consultants’ fees - and an additional £36,000 submitting the planning application to East Lindsey District Council.
He stressed there was no time-scale on the development and that market conditions would dictate when - and if - it went ahead.
The scheme will also feature a roundabout on Lincoln Road to allow access and Mr Crowder said that would help alleviate concerns about the speed of traffic in the area.
He also stressed the proposed drainage system - which will feature catchment areas and landscaped holding lakes - would ease flooding problems for more established residential developments in the area.
He confirmed the development was driven by a need to expand the garden centre business.
He stressed the garden centre could not expand at its current site.
Mr Crowder said: “It will provide funding to take our business to the next stage. If you stand still in business, you will die.
“Whatever happens, Horncastle will develop in the future. No matter how much people don’t want it to change, change is inevitable.
“We’ve got to look at where and how we want Horncastle to grow, We want to it grow in the right places - and not on the top of a hill.
“To say we don’t want Horncastle to grow is a very parochial outlook in my opinion.”