Butterfly park eco homes plan could be about to take off

FUTURE VIEW: A computer generated image of how the new Sutton Park development could look.
FUTURE VIEW: A computer generated image of how the new Sutton Park development could look.

An eco-development which has divided opinion in a village could soon go ahead on the site of a former tourist attraction.

Long Sutton’s popular Butterfly and Wildlife Park closed last year after its owners declared it was no longer viable.

They immediately announced plans for 87 eco-homes, offering their residents zero or low energy bills, on the site.

The homes would range from one to five bedroom homes, terraced, semi-detached and detached, and the development would include 17 affordable properties.

The initial plans prompted a flurry of objections from residents, who fear a new development would put added strain on already under-pressure schools, doctors and dentists, as well as add to problems on the roads.

South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes also voiced his concerns about the development, saying; “I do not feel this is the type of development which would benefit Long Sutton.

“One of my main concerns, and those of nearby residents, is the impact this development will have on traffic movements in Little London, especially with the cars which already park on this road and volume of traffic from the secondary school, sports club and nursery.

“Furthermore, this development will put a strain on the local doctor surgeries, where it is already difficult to get an appointment, along with the local dentists, schools and nurseries.”

More than 80 objections were received from individual residents, but the plans have had the backing of South Holland Economic Development service.

It said: “We have anecdotal evidence for the need for good quality executive housing so that higher skilled professionals across key local sectors can be encouraged to stay and new employees and their families can be attracted to South Holland.”

Despite the high level of objection, the plans will be recommended for approval when they go before district council planners on Wednesday.

The recommendation has delighted the team behind the £12m Sutton Park development, which includes Butterfly Park directors Peter Smeaton and Michael Cross, as well as well-known eco-architect Jerry Harrall.

Dr Harrall, who helped draw up the plans, said: “This is a good news story for Peter and Michael as they have wanted to do their best by the Butterfly Park site and as custodians of the site it is a chance to pass on a legacy to Long Sutton of a landmark development to provide 87 families with the benefit of low or no energy bill homes.”

The report to go to the planning committee says in the last 18 months the plans have been amended to take into account views of various consultees – including the reduction of the number of wind turbines from 20 to eight and the inclusion of affordable homes.

A statement from the applicants says: “Sutton Park will afford a near autonomous lifestyle for its 87 households, with a fraction of the running costs of conventional buildings, offers clean energy, food production, generous open spaces and healthy houses that are naturally ventilated.”