Planning permission given for controversial Long Sutton eco homes

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Plans for 87 “eco” homes were approved on Wednesday despite protests that councillors were basing their decision on an out of date traffic count.

Applicant Search Architects was almost given the go-ahead at a planning meeting in September for its development at Long Sutton’s former Butterfly and Wildlife Park, but councillors asked for a further report from county highways before making a final decision.

That report came under fire at Wednesday’s meeting when Coun Peter Coupland said it referred to a traffic count done three years ago and there has since been nearly a 40 per cent increase.

He asked: “Why did the highways officer choose not to include these figures and give us a really up to date statistic, which is what we asked for at the last meeting?”

Planning manager Paul Jackson said: “The point to consider, irrespective of the figures, is whether this road is at capacity.”

Coun David Wilkinson said: “We do need additional housing but I would ask members to consider whether this should be at any cost. I would hate to be in the position that if there is a fatality on this road I would have to say ‘I told you so’.”

Earlier principal planning officer Chris Crew said a protest petition from residents with 400-plus signatures contained “multiple identical signatures to inflate the number”.

Protestor Linda Hargreaves, who lives opposite the Butterfly Park in Little London, spoke at the meeting urging councillors to reject the plans because so many HGVs and buses either cross Roman Bank’s centre white line or mount the pavement – she fears there will be accidents because new homes mean there will be many more cars.

Mrs Hargreaves said: “Please think about the added danger the extra traffic will create.”

Application supporter Peter Smeaton from agent Moor Solar Ltd urged councillors to give the go-ahead to the innovative project.

l The plan includes ground-based solar panels, eight 25m wind turbines and allotments.