Hundreds more new homes could be built in Horncastle, swamping the town’s already over-stretched infrastructure and piling pressure on schools and doctors.
That is the concern of one former town councillor after a series of dramatic events during the last week.
The News can reveal developers want to build more than 70 new homes on land adjacent to Langton Close and Brackenbury Close.
In addition, campaigners have lost the battle to stop 129 new homes being built at a site off Mareham Road.
Planners at East Lindsey District Council have also given the green light for 23 homes off Wesley Way.
That has prompted speculation as many as 500 new homes could eventually occupy the Wesley Way site.
The latest twists and turns come after residents lost a year-long battle to stop 300 new homes being built at Langton Hill.
Work is also scheduled to start on 86 properties off Louth Road.
This all comes at a time where there is growing criticism of Horncastle’s long-awaited Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) which, it is claimed, is not fit for purpose and will not protect the town from over-zealous development.
Richard Barker, a former town councillor and planning committee chairman, said it was now ‘open season’ for developers in Horncastle.
He added: “I said 12 months ago that this would happen and I was accused of scaremongering.
“My message to those people is open your eyes to what is happening. Developers are having a field day. The Development Plan is not fit for purpose and ELDC is caving in because they can’t afford the cost of appeals.
“Ok, there are only 23 homes at Wesley Way at this stage but there is room for something like 500 on that whole site.
“Mark my words. This is the tip of the iceberg.”
In December, a Government-appointed inspector overturned ELDC’s decision to refuse permission for the Langton Hill development.
Now, another inspector has ruled the equally controversial Mareham Road scheme can go ahead, despite strong concerns over flooding and drainage.
Initially, ELDC opposed the scheme, but when developers announced they planned an appeal - and submitted new ‘evidence’ to support draining the site - the council backtracked.
The hearing went ahead and the inspector has supported the development. Just to rub salt into any wounds, he awarded costs against ELDC.
The Wesley Way scheme has also been approved, despite more than a dozen objections from residents.
They were supported by the town council who raised concerns about a number of issues, including access, highways and safety - and flooding.
Sources have indicated future developments in that particular area of town could see the Wesley Way and Mareham Road sites linked in a massive new estate.
Details are also starting to emerge of the Langton Close/Brackenbury Close development, which will feature a range of properties from one to five bedroom homes.
Meanwhile, criticism of the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan continues to grow.
There are claims that the plan is flawed because it does not identify specific development sites.
That led to a spat between two councillors at a meeting of the town council last week.
Councillor Stuart Attwood produced a report by town resident Dr David Lawrence which identifies several weaknesses in the plan.
Coun Attwood said: “I am increasingly concerned the plan will fail this town. It is supposed to provide a shield for this town. My fear is it is going to be a shield with a lot of holes in it.”
That brought a stinging response from Coun David Roark, a member of the steering committee that formulated the plan.
He questioned Dr Lawrence’s qualifications and asked if he (Dr Lawrence) was such an expert, why had he not come forward to volunteer and join the steering committee.