Fears Blechford could come ‘under siege’ from developers

The site of an old bungalow in Narrow Lane Blechford where developers want to build two detached houses
The site of an old bungalow in Narrow Lane Blechford where developers want to build two detached houses

According to estate agents, Belchford is one of the most sought after villages in the entire Wolds, designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The village shop closed five or six years ago...the village school long before that. The pub, though, is still thriving.

There’s no regular bus service, the mobile library still pops in once a month and crime rate is low.

Residents - by and large - are a friendly and there’s usually something going on at the Village Hall.

However, some residents fear the village is becoming too popular - and not with buyers but eagle-eyed developers.

It appears parish council chairman Ian Goodall and his colleagues share those concerns.

They called a special meeting of the council last Wednesday to discuss a raft of applications.

In fact, some people living in the picturesque Wolds village claim they feel like they are ‘under siege’ from housing developers.

Councillors have been dealing with applications for 16 new homes which, if all built, would increase 
the size of the village by 14 per cent.

And one area of Belchford - Narrow Lane - would see an increase of 34 per cent, if the various projects planned are given the go-ahead by East Lindsey District Council.

Coun Goodall admits he is ‘concerned’ about the number of applications - and the fact six of them relate to greenfield sites.

Speaking at last week’s meeting, he said there was a danger Belchford would struggle to cope with the number of new homes - not least because it lacks the infra-structure to cope.

There is an air of confusion about the entire planning process.

One resident told the meeting that she had seen her application for a four bedroom home rejected by planners who told her in a letter that development in Belchford was ‘unsustainable’ because of the lack of facilities.

She questioned that if that was the case, why had other applications - including a development of semi-detached and a detached house off Narrow Lane - been approved.

Another resident said: “It might be a popular village but there are too many applications. It’s feels like we are under siege.

“The village can’t cope with all these new homes.”

The meeting also heard enforcement officers from ELDC were investigating complaints about a new home off Main Road in the village.

Permission for a three bedroom house - with integral garage - was granted for the site almost 30 years ago.

However, the property being erected is a four bedroom home - with plans for a separate garage and two parking 
places.

The developers have submitted a new application to ELDC for the garage, a boundary wall and other changes to the initial design.

Parish councillors decided to object to the new proposals, saying it was not in keeping with the village and that the wall would be built at the side of a busy road on land actually owned by the county 
council.

Coun John Smith, a local farmer, said the road in question was already dangerous with HGV’s and farm vehicles often having to battle for space as they negotiate a bend.

Other councillors said they were worried about the increased risk of flooding and recommended drainage work should be carried out before any permission is 
given.

Councillors also objected to proposals for two detached homes on the site of a dilapidated bungalow on Narrow Lane - and a separate bid for a four bedroom detached home on Narrow Lane.

They said they favoured a replacement bungalow on the first site which could be more in keeping with existing properties.

Coun Simon Miller said Narrow Lane was named for an ‘obvious reason’ and could not cope with an increase in 
traffic.

Councillors did support amended plans for two semi- detached homes on Narrow Lane although they made a number of observations.

The meeting also discussed plans for four new homes on a site behind the village pub.

The development of rural villages is a particular headache for planners.

The final decision will, of course, rest with ELDC and not the parish council.