Crowders withdraw plans for 500 homes in Horncastle

Planning.
Planning.

Controversial plans for the biggest housing development in Horncastle’s history have been withdrawn.

Crowders had been seeking permission to build 500 homes at a site off Lincoln Road.

Last week, it emerged the application - which attracted strong opposition from residents and local councillors - would not be going ahead.

The dramatic development follows three years of concerns about the impact the development would have on Horncastle.

Town mayor Coun Brian Burbidge said he was 
‘relieved’ the scheme had been withdrawn, citing the pressure such a large-scape 
development would have had on the town’s infrastructure.

Campaigners who had fought to halt the project will also be celebrating.

However, it might not be the end of the saga as reliable sources have indicated Crowders could still table an application for a scheme featuring fewer homes - on the same site.

Robert Crowder, chairman of the family-owned company behind the venture, was not available for comment.

It is understood talks could still be on-going between Crowders’ representatives and County Council highways chiefs.

The county council has previously indicated it would object to the application because of the impact so many homes would have on Lincoln Road (A158) which is already one of the busiest routes in Lincolnshire.

Coun Burbidge said: “I think there will be widespread relief that the application has been withdrawn but I am not certain this is the end of the matter.

“We will have to wait and see what happens.”

While a scheme featuring fewer homes could attract less opposition from highways chiefs, there is still the concern about on local health and education provision. Flooding is another issue.

Any revised application would have to be submitted pretty quickly, before East Lindsey District Council’s Local Plan is official adopted, hopefully later this year.

The Local Plan covers all development in the district and Coun Burbidge pointed out Horncastle has already fulfilled its five-year allocation for new homes - a key element of the plan.

However, that allocation will not come into operation, until the much delayed plan is adopted.

Crowders is one of the most familiar names in Horncastle and previously owned a garden centre, now operated by Wyevale.

Crowders still runs a highly successful nursery business and secured a multi-million pound contract connected to the HS2 rail system.

The News first revealed details of the housing development in June 2015.

At the time, Mr Crowder said: “We have been working on these plans for two years.

“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 application would include a new care home and money to improve local services.

However, an opposition group formed with hours of the announcement and Mr Crowder was criticised when he outlined his proposals at a public meeting.