More than 650 homes in South Holland and the Deeping could be built on greenfield sites
More than 650 homes could be built on greenfield sites in South Holland and the Deepings in the next five years thanks to a Government housebuilding formula.
Data suggests that this area could need 662 homes on greenfield locations - the highest amount of any constituency in Lincolnshire.
Figures show more homes earmarked for South Holland and the Deepings than for the whole of the Boston and Skegness (390) and Grantham and Stamford (244) constituencies combined.
Our figure marks a stark contrast with rural areas in the north of England, such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Richmond seat in Yorkshire where only 100 homes are proposed on greenfield.
Last week The Times reported that 400,000 homes were needed on greenfield land in total.
South Holland district councillor Roger Gambba-Jones - a long-standing member of the authority’s planning committee, said: “Ultimately the Government wants housing the to be built. It was 300,000, now there are going to be even more apparently.
“We are going to be in a vicious circle of delivering numbers that they want.”
The Times analysed the Government’s housing need figures alongside the amount of available sites on brownfield land that has previously been developed or sits in industrial areas.
Coun Gambba-Jones said members are concerned about ‘urban sprawl’ in our area - and of the loss of farmland but said: “They are somewhat resigned to the fact that we can’t fight that battle.”
Officers and councillors often come in for criticism for allowing developments to go ahead - but they operate with the fear of facing a long and expensive legal battle if they turn applications down.
Coun Gambba-Jones said the council doesn’t just face the prospect of defeat with a planning inspector if it objects to plans that Government rules appear to encourage - but also the added threat of being forced to pay an applicant’s legal costs if defeated.
As well as location , councillors are also concerned about the quality of proposals being put forward by developers and lack of care in creating new communities.
Coun Gambba-Jones said: “Often members see what’s proposed and are horrified by the poor quality and the blandness.
“That’s what frustrates them - the roads will be too narrow, the parking will be inadequate - it will be the same old, same old.
“It’s very much about quality. It’s about the poor provision of parking spaces and about what people are going to do when they want shops.
“These are all of those concerns about the community side of things - it should not just be ‘build it and scarper’.”
Jonathan Jones, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England told The Times: “The planning bill flies in the face of levelling-up ambitions and will lead to a huge loss of greenfield, including green belt in the southeast and London while leaving brownfield to rot in the north.”
The Government says the number of houses offered up by its formula is a ‘starting point’ and not an outright target.