Spalding councillor defends decision for new homes in 'corridor'
A leading Spalding councillor has defended the granting of planning consent for two recently built homes on Bourne Road that could end up being bulldozed.
As revealed by the Spalding Guardian in February, South Holland District Council issued a decision notice giving formal consent for the semi-detached homes on December 29, 2015.
The so-called protected corridor which safeguards the route of Spalding Western Relief appeared in the local plan in January 2016.
That corridor includes the plots for the new houses.
Revised plans for the homes saw a decision notice issued in September 2016, nine months after the protected corridor was first published.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, South Holland’s planning chairman at the time, was also involved in the local plan.
We asked about the consent for the new properties and Coun Gambba-Jones said: “Planning applications are dealt with on their merits. It’s got nothing to do with anything other than that.
“Applications are dealt with as they are presented to the committee, you don’t go out looking for peripheral information.”
Local MP Sir John Hayes is determined to stop the potential loss of nine Bourne Road homes to make way for the £100million road.
Sir John believes the council should have told the applicants for the new homes about the protected corridor for the road.
The MP said: “If I made an application that was in good faith I would expect the council to inform me about prevailing contextual issues.”
Coun Gambba-Jones and fellow Tory Christine Lawton retained their Spalding Wygate seats in Thursday’s local election.
A former Tory district councillor, Keith Brooks, had previously made a formal complaint to South Holland District Council about both councillors in relation to the proposed relief road.
Coun Gambba-Jones dismissed the complaint as “an election spoiler”.
While Coun Lawton told us: “I believe this is totally without foundation and I am happy for it to be looked at by our monitoring officer who will make a decision on it.”
Shocked Bourne Road residents only learned about the protected corridor - and two possible routes for the road - in February this year when the county council held drop-in sessions.
Most were warned after the drop-in sessions by Independent district councillor Angela Newton, who represents Monkshouse Ward, which includes Bourne Road.
We asked Coun Gambba-Jones if the district council had a moral duty to tell Bourne Road residents about the protected corridor.
He said: “You are even asking the wrong councillor really because Bourne Road isn’t in my area.”
Bourne Road residents are angry they didn’t know about the protected corridor in time to object at local plan hearings.
Coun Newton and fellow ward member George Aley, who has stepped down from the council, didn’t know the details in the local plan - or two new route options - although they were familiar with a previous route that was being progressed in 2011.
The county council officer in charge at the time said it was chosen to avoid “the need to purchase and demolish residential properties”.