PLANS for a multi-million pound town centre regeneration are likely to be approved.
South Kesteven District Council has applied to demolish buildings in Burghley Street, Bourne and revamp the former Wherry’s Mill in a £2.2m scheme to create seven shops and 14 apartments.
The application will go before the council’s development control committee on Tuesday. Planning officers have recommended it be deferred to the committee chairman or vice chairman for approval, subject to a minor redesign of windows in the mill.
Officers say the scheme fits in with the surrounding area and suggest it will be the first step in a much wider regeneration scheme.
Council leader Linda Neal (Con), who has played a key part in bringing the plans forward, said: “If the application is approved the exciting part of the project begins. The hope is to breathe new life into Bourne town centre.
“The economic downturn has intervened from when we hoped it might be started but we see it as a catalyst for improving the town centre. The success of this section will lead through into the next stage.”
Last month Bourne Town Council outlined a number of objections to the plans. Councillors said the scheme was not in keeping with the character of the town centre and should prioritise infrastructure over apartments.
Chairman of the town council’s highways and planning committee, Coun Trevor Holmes, hopes to reiterate the objections when the plans are discussed on Tuesday.
He said: “I will pass on the views of the town council and a large number of the people of Bourne.
“The whole idea is going against their own local plan which was for no more houses to be given permission in Bourne.
“I hope they see sense. We don’t want housing development, we want development that fits the needs of Bourne. I find it incomprehensible.”
Although the council decided last year that no additional housing was needed in Bourne, planning officers say the benefits the apartments would bring to the wider regeneration scheme would outweigh any conflict with planning policy. The apartments would also add to surveillance in the area and improve safety.
According to Coun Neal, English Heritage would object to a design based on existing buildings in Bourne and would prefer the district council to create something original. She also said the apartments would create footfall in the evenings and help make the area feel safer late at night.
The plans can be viewed at www.southkesteven.gov.uk/planning.