Planning officer recommends refusal for 360 new homes in Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa.
Woodhall Spa.

An East Lindsey District Council planning officer has recommended refusal for a controversial plan to build 360 new homes in Woodhall Spa - with the final decision due to be made by a planning committee next Thursday (February 1).

As reported earlier this week, parish councillors in Woodhall Spa have joined dozens of residents in opposing controversial plans for a new housing development off Tattershall Road.

The Witham Trading Company has submitted an amended application to East Lindsey District Council for up to 360 dwellings.

After opposition to the initial application - and in particular concerns about a lack of primary school places - the new scheme proposes 80% of the properties will be retirement dwellings.

Parish councillors discussed the amended application at their monthly meeting last Tuesday and have written to ELDC reiterating their concerns.

Councillors say the focus on retirement homes would change the ‘drain’ on school places to the provision of health services.

They raise several other concerns and say the development would change the character of the village. They also point out there is no evidence that the homes are required.

The letter from the parish council states: “It was felt that the large development was not in balance with the village and the gateway site would forever change the character of the village significantly.

“There has not been a demonstrated need for such a large development and now it has been confirmed that Woodhall Spa does have a five year housing supply there is no evidence that these dwellings are required.

“The land is of good agricultural quality and geographically is not in a suitable location.

“There is concern that a retirement development would increase the number of vehicles driving into the village, and as the village is currently struggling to cope with demand for parking spaces this would only exacerbate the situation.

“The footpath is also in a poor state of repair and does not offer a safe pedestrian route into the village either.

“Other concerns were raised about the monitoring and enforcement of the 55+ age limit on 80% of the properties and the possibility of this changing in the future.”

Some residents have already formed an action group amid claims the development would create an OAP ‘ghetto’ on the outskirts of the village.

Letters sent to ELDC raise a raft of concerns - many of them along similar lines to the parish council.

One resident describes the fact plans include 288 retirement dwellings alongside a sports ground, coach park and play area is an ‘obvious mismatch’ and ‘ridiculous’.

Another resident claims the retirement homes would lead to a ‘significant number’ of motorised wheelchairs on the village streets, ‘with all the associated hazards’.

Another resident writes: “I have lived in Woodhall Spa for 15 years and I have been unable to get on a doctor’s list here.

“How are the occupants of 360 homes going to find doctors and dentists?”

The same resident also questions the need for a coach park, saying: “This is not Skegness.”

The News has previously reported that developers behind the scheme claim there is a need for the new homes, and that the retirement dwellings would benefit not just Woodhall Spa but the entire area.

There are several letters on the ELDC website supporting the development and refuting many of the claims - including the fact the homes would change the character of the village.

There have been strong objections to several other major housing developments in Woodhall Spa, but ELDC has still given the go-ahead.

• The application is due to be heard at the next ELDC planning committee meeting, which begins at 10am on Thursday (February 1).