Deepings rail freight hub running short of time for Local Plan

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee.
  • New housing for Holbeach and Pinchbeck-Spalding ‘countryside gap’ also discussed

There are doubts over whether a 20-year blueprint for South Holland will include plans for a rail freight hub in Deeping St Nicholas.

Developers of the 37-acre site near to the village’s railway line have been given until June 10 to come up with “relevant information” about the scheme or it could be dropped from the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan altogether.

The Spalding RFI would be a good way of supporting local companies, but we will have to remove it from the Local Plan if new information is not made available to us as it’s not something we can have hanging over the people of Deeping St Nicholas

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee

The plan sets out the vision and priorities for future development in South Holland and Boston from 2011 to 2036, including a forecast of new housing in towns and villages like Holbeach and Pinchbeck.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the Local Plan committee, said: “We will ask the rail company to come back to us with information about the Rail-Freight Interchange (RFI), with a clear steer so that we can include it in the Local Plan.

“It would be a good way of supporting local companies and drawing in new commercial enterprises, but we will have to remove it from the Local Plan if new information about the RFI is not made available to us.

“It’s not something we can have hanging over the people of Deeping St Nicholas, the community most affected by the RFI.”

Committee members met on Friday to talk about a draft version of the Local Plan and people’s views on it after 16 public drop-in sessions across South Holland and Boston during January and February.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “This is the framework that is going to shape Spalding and the surrounding towns’ futures for the next 30 years, yet the level of interest at the public meetings was minimal.

“But when a developer suddenly starts putting in their final plans to build hundreds of homes, all the local residents start objecting when it’s too late.

“At the moment, it seems like the future of the town is in the hands of a handful of people and a couple of developers, with a handful of the public taking an interest.”

Coun Gambba-Jones said there was no evidence to increase the number of new homes for Holbeach beyond 1,340 and that he understood fears of a 4,000-home development between Pinchbeck and Spalding, as part of a new Western Relief Road, closing a “countryside gap” betwen the village and town.

“We must do our utmost to avoid the increasing gridlock we are currently experiencing and the relief road is the only way of achieving it,” Coun Gambba-Jones said.

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