Two open spaces in Spalding could be lost to new housing in a move of “breathtaking audacity”, warns a town heritage group.
Spalding and District Civic Society claims land off Queens Road and Severn Road, with an estimated total value of £35,000, could be used for affordable homes after a decision by South Holland District Council’s cabinet in July.
It’s at a very early stage, but the audacity is breathtaking (when) Spalding has 44 per cent less green leisure space than it ought to for a town of its size
Papers from the council said the sites “are considered to be no longer needed for housing purposes”, but the decision to value them could pave the way for a sell-off to the council’s housing company, South Holland Homes.
In its October newsletter, the Civic Society said: “In July, the cabinet approved the Housing Department’s proposal to ‘appropriate (the two pieces of) existing council-owned land from the Housing Revenue Account to the General Fund’. A bit of financial adjustment – (except) for a recommendation that ‘delegated authority (decision-making powers) be granted to the Executive Director (Commercialisation) to proceed with subsequent disposals of such land to the council’s housing company’.
“It’s at a very early stage, but the audacity is breathtaking (when) Spalding has 44 per cent less green leisure space than it ought to for a town of its size and (the fact that) to build houses on playing fields flouts both the council’s own and national planning policies.”
The Civic Society has written to the council in protest, reminding it that a plan to use land in Chiltern Drive, Spalding, as a cemetery was voted down 14-0 by its own planning committee in March.
“We are not, it must be emphasised, opposed to building affordable homes,” the Civic Society said.
“In fact, we are very much in favour - but not by covering playing fields and public green space in bricks and mortar.”
The newsletter put forward sites, including the former Welland Hospital in Roman Bank and the land between The Crescent and Market Place, as places for new housing before adding: “Our playing fields and green leisure spaces should be sacrosanct”.
The Free Press invited the council to respond but it chose not to comment.