Battlelines drawn in Woodhall Spa as developers reveal details of amended application

A packed public meeting in Coronation Hall last year when residents and councillors voiced strong objections to  development plans in Woodhall Spa.
A packed public meeting in Coronation Hall last year when residents and councillors voiced strong objections to development plans in Woodhall Spa.

Significant changes have been made to plans for a new housing development in Woodhall Spa which it is claimed would lead to an ‘old persons ghetto’ being created.

The Witham Trading Company submitted an outline application to East Lindsey District Council last June for up to 360 dwellings on land off Tattershall Road.

That application prompted widespread opposition, including objections from residents and the parish council.

The application was the latest in several major housing schemes for Woodhall Spa.

Several applications were approved - despite local concerns about the impact on an already struggling village infrastructure.

Parish councillors claimed as many as 1,000 new homes could be built if all the various schemes were approved - far more than the number of homes proposed in ELDC’s Local Plan.

Apart from issues with highways, health and flooding, education officials said there was a lack of primary school places to cope with the Tattershall Road scheme, and a public meeting - called to discuss the application - was told children would have to ‘bussed’ to other towns and villages.

Now, documents lodged with ELDC’s planning department show the developers have submitted an amended outline application.

In a statement published on ELDC’s website, agent Simon Williams says it is proposed 80% of the homes would be ‘retirement living dwellings’ and 20% ‘family dwellings’.

That would equate to 285 retirement dwellings (for over 55s) and 75 family dwellings.

Mr Williams says the changes were made with ‘careful consideration’ following discussions with consultants and other ‘older housing sector developers’ who have identified Woodhall Spa as a suitable location.

McCarthy and Stone have already indicated they will submit plans for a retirement complex in the Tattershall Road area.

The full statement covers several pages, and Mr Williams makes reference to the other housing schemes - and to the problem of primary school provision.

The statement concludes: “Amendment of the scheme has been brought forward by a hypothetical calculation of primary school provision but one which gently nudged the applicant in what it sees as a positive direction.”

It adds the amendments would allow developers to work with other groups to deliver a ‘long-term vision’ of quality housing to meet the growing needs of the community and ‘more widely felt benefits.’

Sources suggest the amended scheme will go before the district council’s planning committee next month, but several objections from residents have already appeared on ELDC’s website.

In addition, it can be revealed the Grove Drive Residents Group has been formed to ‘galvanise as many people as possible’ against what it describes as a ‘cynical approach’ by the developers to create a an ‘old persons’ ghetto.’

In a statement, the group reiterates concerns about local infrastructure and claims the issue of primary school places would probably have stopped the initial application ‘dead in its tracks.’

The statement adds: “In an obvious measure to counter this threat, the developer has changed the application.

“It shows a cynical approach to potentially create an old persons’ ghetto over a mile outside the village centre with all the transport, medical and not to mention isolation problems if this was to get approved.”

The group says that over 100 objections have been submitted to ELDC.

•Full details of the plans are available on the ELDC website.