First hurdle cleared for 900 homes plan

An artist's impression of plans for up to 900 new homes, a primary school and other works on land at Manor Farm, Holbeach.
An artist's impression of plans for up to 900 new homes, a primary school and other works on land at Manor Farm, Holbeach.

Developers behind a £7.5 million, 900-home expansion of Holbeach have cleared their first hurdle after winning consent, in principle, for the scheme.

A mix of one to five-bedroom homes, primary school and new drainage on land at Manor Farm, off Hall Gate and Fen Road, could go ahead after provisional planning permission was agreed by South Holland District Council.

Planning committee members voted 10-4 in favour of the plans by Holbeach-based Ashley King Developments, allowing the firm to present further details of its proposal for approval at a later date.

During the meeting on Wednesday, it was revealed that part of the investment would go towards a new roundabout at Peppermint Junction, between the A17 and A151, estimated to cost as much as £3.45 million.

Ashley King, whose firm is behind the scheme, said: “We are delighted to have obtained outline planning permission for residential development at Manor Farm, Holbeach, with the principle of development agreed.

“The proposal will address housing need and the difficulties facing first-time buyers and young families by providing stylish, affordable, energy- efficient homes at an affordable price.

“The design focus will be a development driven by a desire to produce a high-quality residential development which pays respect to the local context and will be an integral part of Holbeach in years to come.”

Plans for the scheme will first unveiled at a public exhibition in April.

But there has been opposition from the public and Holbeach Parish Council over the loss of good agricultural land, increased traffic and the prospect of schools and health services being unable to cope with the expected population growth.

In a statement to the planning committee, a parish council spokesman said: “In our Plan for Holbeach 2012-2031, we outlined areas for building (but) this area of Grade I-listed agricultural land was not within the outline.

“This plan, incorporating a primary school, is of no help to Holbeach as we are currently covered for primary school places.

“What we are in short supply of is nursery and secondary (school) places and there is still nowhere the infrastructure needed for a development of this size (as) we already need more doctors, dentists and health care specialists.”

In response, Mr King said: “We feel the development will deal with all the infrastructure issues to arise from the new homes and assist existing homes by enhancing the already stretched facilities.”