Mr Strain (Letters, Mercury 6 June) is to be commended for having more concern for first time buyers than his own loss of a fortune, had he been able to sell his wife’s land to the property developer.
We genuinely sympathise with him on this loss, especially as scarce development land with planning permission is currently worth in excess of £500,000 per acre in Lincolnshire.
Let us deal with facts. Firstly Stamford Town Council and over 1200 people from throughout Stamford, not “well-healed NIMBYs”, signed petitions and wrote letters to SKDC citing increases in already gridlocked traffic, the impact on Stamford’s historic views, ploughing up of ancient footpaths and the poor design of what was on offer.
Secondly, the site would have only 17 “affordable” houses. The majority would have been 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed at much higher prices.
Thirdly, the “attractive design”– concrete and crushed stone with plastic windows – was comprehensively rejected by the SKDC’s conservation officer, the Stamford Civic Society and – most significantly – English Heritage.
Fourthly, the Council’s planning committee voted 13 to 1 to throw out the application. It failed to meet strict conditions laid down in the Council’s Core Strategy and the Site Allocation Document; it breached the requirements of SKDC’s Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Analysis; it failed on no fewer than 10 key principles of the National Planning Policy Framework
Fifthly, the objectors did not claim the paddocks were “in the Conservation Area”. We highlighted the impact of a tawdry suburban housing estate on the adjoining Conservation Area, the iconic approaches to Stamford from south and west and on the Grade I and II* Listed Buildings on Kettering Road and St Martins High Street.
Finally, Stamford and its residents together with hundreds of walkers are clearly indebted to Mr Strain for allowing the paddock to return to its natural state.
This enables the viewing of rare birds, insects, grasses and wild flowers and a myriad of native flora and fauna as ramblers pass along historic footpaths including the Four Counties Walk and Hereward Way.
We hope that the enormous pleasure Mr Strain’s generosity has brought to so many people will be some consolation for the turning down of the planning application. It is unfortunate that Mr Strain sought to personalise his attack to one on David Taylor who initiated the campaign on behalf of all Stamfordians. Defeating this application was undertaken by Stamford, for Stamford.
Ian Campbell OBE,
On behalf of Stamford Protect Our Green Spaces,
St Martin’s, Stamfiord