Stamford residents are gearing up again to protect a greenfield site after a housing developer changed its plans again.
Kier has amended its application for land to the south of Kettering Road, Stamford, asking to build 29 homes on the site.
Kier originally submitted a planning application for 48 homes on the site in 2014 and The Stamford! Protect Our Green Open Space group was formed to fight the proposals.
The plans were refused by South Kesteven District Council’s planning committee in a majority vote in 2014 - a decision which was upheld by the Planning Inspector in June 2015.
But Kier had already submitted a new plan for 39 homes and has now amended this down to 29 - with changes to the house designs and layout of the site.
Because the application has been amended so many times - rather than re-submitted - the application features 121 documents on the district council’s website.
The council’s planning committee has never considered the plans for 39 homes, even though they were originally submitted in October 2014.
But it’s understood by the campaign group that the council’s planning officers issued an “interim position statement” to Kier in July this year, advising that the proposed development would be “demonstrably harmful to the setting and significance of Stamford Conservation Area, Burghley House registered park and garden and Burghley House” - and inviting the developer to amend the plans.
The council said these interim statements are issued at the discretion of the planning officers in long-running applications to keep all parties informed of what stage the process is at.
Chairman of the Stamford! Protect Our Green Space group Ian Campbell said: “Whether 48, 39 or 29 houses is irrelevant. Once they are built and they all fit solar panels on their south-facing roofs imagine the eyesore it will create, and the visual impact on the Bottle Lodges, Fryer’s Callis and other ancient historic buildings.
“We will also suffer from further increases in traffic – already grid-locked in Stamford on many mornings and evenings, as residents of the extra four- and five-bedroomed houses with 2 or 3 cars apiece try to get into town or onto the A1.”
More than 2,000 people have signed a series of petitions against the applications.
A Kier spokesman said: “We have worked closely with South Kesteven District Council, Historic England, and the council’s independently appointed conservation architect to design a scheme suited to the area. The new design sees a significant reduction in the number of homes, with 29 dwellings planned. The undeveloped parts of the site will now be landscaped and a number of new trees will also be planted, softening its impact from surrounding viewpoints.”
The land is allocated for housing in the local plan.
The campaign group has also called on Kier to hold a public meeting on the plans. The only consultation held was in November 2013 before the first application was submitted in early 2014.
The campaign group is urging concerned residents to write to the council’s planning department, quoting application S14/3078.