Morton shop plan faces rejection again

The Lord Nelson pub, Morton, and opposite, the site where The Kings Head pub once stood.'Photo: MSMP060214-004ow ENGEMN00120140602132106

The Lord Nelson pub, Morton, and opposite, the site where The Kings Head pub once stood.'Photo: MSMP060214-004ow ENGEMN00120140602132106

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Councillors hope an independent traffic safety investigation will give them the evidence they need to reject plans for a village shop.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee once again raised concerns about Lincolnshire Co-operative’s plan to build a new shop in Morton.

An application to demolish the Lord Nelson pub on the A15 crossroads and build a shop in its place has already been rejected, and an appeal against that decision dismissed by a planning inspector.

But the company has now come back with a second application.

Read more: New plans to demolish pub and build store.

Councillors raised concerns about the impact on the safety of drivers and pedestrians when rejecting the first plan, and brought up those same concerns this week.

Coun Michael King (Con) said: “If the applicants don’t change anything then the committee is unlikely to change it’s view. I can’t see that there has been any real change.”

The traffic problem mainly concerns vehicles travelling south on the A15 that want to turn right into the application site. They have to cross a right-turn lane for northbound traffic. Councillors were concerned that at peak times the lane would be full, causing southbound traffic to back up past the turn into High Street.

Complicating the issue is the lack of a solution to the ongoing campaign for a pedestrian crossing on the A15. In July Lincolnshire County Council proposed a four-way traffic light system with crossing points, but this was rejected by Morton and Hanthorpe Parish Council in favour of exploring the possibility of a pelican-style crossing to the north of the junction.

Lincolnshire Co-operative offered to build a pedestrian island on the A15 and introduce a right-turn lane for southbound traffic. But the council instead asked for a £25,000 contribution which could be used for its favoured traffic light scheme in the future.

If the shop plans were approved, therefore, there would be no alterations to the made highway in the immediate future.

Most councillors were minded to refuse the application for the same reasons as before. But they were told by a council officer that new reasons were needed; otherwise, the applicant would likely be successful with another appeal.

Councillors instead voted to defer a decision and commission an independent traffic survey to give them more data on the possible highways impact of the shop. They also asked for the county council’s principal highway officer to attend the next meeting and explain the position regarding the traffic lights.

Lincolnshire Co-op initially wanted to build a shop on the opposite side of the crossroads and demolished the King’s Head pub in November 2013. But the firm later changed focus to the Lord Nelson site.

Several people spoke out against Lincolnshire Co-operative’s plans for Morton at Tuesday’s meeting.

Morton and Hanthorpe parish councillor Marijke Harris, who lives close to the Lord Nelson, said the A15 crossing was dangerous. She added: “A speed limit and crossing that is safe to children needs to be in place before this is approved.

“We have been waiting for 80 years for a crossing. There will be a serious accident.”

Speaking for the applicant, transport planning officer Simon Tucker said points raised by the planning inspector had been addressed.

He added: “The best outcome for the plot is as you see on the plan with a contribution to allow the county council in consultation with key stakeholders to come up with a solution for pedestrians to cross the road.”

But parish council chairman Richard Wells said nothing had changed since the previous application.

“The applicant looks to mislead the committee by including the four-way traffic lights in the submission.

“That proposal has been put to the parish council as a possible solution to assist pedestrians crossing the A15. It is dependent on a contribution from the parish council.

“The parish council’s preference would be a 30mph limit plus a crossing to the north of the junction.”