Plans for 151 new homes on Long Sutton’s former Butterfly and Wildlife Park will go to South Holland District Council this year.
Scores of residents and the parish council – backed by MP John Hayes – lost their battle to derail a planning application for 87 eco homes on the site in 2013.
The eco homes project then sank, because it wasn’t considered economically viable, and now the Butterfly Park has been designated as “lying outside the emerging settlement area for Long Sutton” in the draft South East Lincolnshire Local Plan (SELLP).
But that designation could be challenged and overturned at a SELLP public inquiry next year – and the developers point out the site is still listed as a “Housing Commitment” because of the existing planning permission.
Allison Homes, part of Bourne-based Larkfleet Group, want to build on the Butterfly Park and say “increasing the number of homes on the site will make the scheme more viable”. The company is promising to consult the public.
Long Sutton Parish Council chairman Charles Moore says once a formal planning application is made, the parish council will go to public consultation.
He said: “We will do everything in our power to make sure what the public want in this scenario is delivered.”
In 2013 more than 80 individual residents objected to the eco-homes, many voicing concerns about cars from the development adding to traffic movements on an already busy road.
Mr Hayes told the district council then: “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.”
South Holland’s planning committee was on the brink of passing Search Architects’ plans in September 2013, but put off the decision for a month until it had traffic count figures for Little London from Lincolnshire County Council highways.
Figures supplied by highways were three years out of date, but the plans were passed despite a protest from Coun Peter Coupland who said there had been a 40 per cent increase in traffic since the county’s statistics were compiled.
In November 2014, the council passed plans weakening the application’s eco credentials despite opposition from the parish council, which said the district planning officers had pointed to its eco components as the only reason for approving it.
Planning chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said on Thursday that plan was treated as exceptional, because of it is eco credentials, and at the time it was passed the council didn’t have sufficient land with planning consents to satisfy the criteria of a five year housing land supply.
A spokesman for Allison Homes, part of the Bourne-based Larkfleet Group, said: “Allison Homes has had preliminary discussions with South Holland District Council about housing on the site of the former Butterfly Park at Long Sutton.
“This previously-developed site is identified in the draft South East Lincolnshire Local Plan (SELLP) as a ‘Housing Commitment’.
“The SELLP is being written jointly by South Holland and Boston borough councils. A Housing Commitment is a site which already has planning permission and this site has permission for the construction of 87 homes.
“That permission was granted in to another applicant which found it was difficult to make the scheme economically viable in the local housing market with this number of houses on the site.
“We are proposing to submit a new planning application which will include 151 homes using Allison Homes’ award-winning sustainable construction methods and incorporating high levels of renewable technology.
“Increasing the number of homes on the site will make the scheme more viable. It will help enable the homes to be sold at prices that local people can afford. This will help to make a real contribution to meeting the urgent need for more realistically priced homes in this area where many local people cannot afford to buy a house.
“We anticipate that a number of these homes will be sold as ‘starter homes’ which will have a discount of 20 per cent applied to them and will be targeted at those with a local connection with Long Sutton.
“We are aiming to submit a formal planning application before the end of the year and there will then be full public consultation on the plans.”