Council planning officers are recommending approval of a controversial plan for a four-storey block of flats on land behind Spalding’s Market Place.
Traders and Spalding and District Civic Society are opposed to the application from Taylor Pearson Development (Drapers Place) Ltd.
The site has been used for car parking and sits on backland between Market Place and The Crescent.
Spalding traders want to see a mixed retail/residential development over a larger area, including land owned by the council, while the civic society has a list of objections, including to the proposed access via Francis Street.
It also says 15 parking spaces for 35 flats aren’t enough.
The society describes the access as “unrealistic and destructive”, pointing out the road is so narrow that two vehicles cannot pass and single delivery vehicles regularly block the road.
The society continues: “As a safe pedestrian link – the second busiest – it has a key role in the town centre’s circulation, a role which would be impaired or destroyed by increasing vehicular traffic on what everyone perceives as a pedestrian way.
“The proposed high wall along the other side of Abbey Path must be contrary to safety-in-design principles, creating a narrow, forbidding alley without natural, informal surveillance: in short a graffitist’s paradise, marvellous urinal and enticing venue for anti-social activities.”
The society says the “monolithic four-storey mass of the building” is unsympathetic to its context, and there’s no stepping down from the grander buildings of Market Place to the two-storey shops and houses of Francis Street and The Crescent.
Gavin Allmand, former president of Spalding Town Retailers’ Association, has emailed councillors calling for a re-think, and saying there must be a better scheme that better supports the viability of the town centre, in line with a document produced at the request of a planning inspector.
According to council planning officers, “wider public benefits” include regeneration of a vacant and under used brownfield site in the town centre and increased footfall in the town centre.
Councillors will vote on the plans on Tuesday (April 10).