Approval for Larkfleet Homes’ commercial site at gateway to Market Deeping

The site in Market Deeping where Larkfleet Homes wants to develop. Photo: Google EMN-151008-141847001
The site in Market Deeping where Larkfleet Homes wants to develop. Photo: Google EMN-151008-141847001
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Outline planning permission for a commercial development at the entrance to Market Deeping was granted yesterday (Tuesday), despite strong objections by the town council.

It means developers Larkfleet Homes now have permission subject to conditions to construct 10,000 sq metres of commercial development on land off Peterborough Road.

However the exact layout, scale, appearance and landscaping remain reserved matters, and will need to be presented in a further application to South Kesteven District Council before any construction can begin.

After a heated debate between councillors on SKDC’s development control committee, including by members who proposed to reject the application, an outline plan for the site was approved subject to conditions and amendments made during the meeting.

This is despite Market Deeping residents and the town council expressing their objections to the proposal. Speaking publicly at the meeting, Market Deeping town councillor Pauline Redshaw said: “The town council is not opposed to commercial development in Market Deeping, however it is opposed to this plan. The council feels that the development would be detrimental to the entrance of the town.

“The council have met many times with Larkfleet over the last four years. The council have always been welcoming and co-operative. However at each meeting the council has stated that commercial development at the town’s gateway was unacceptable.”

Throughout the planning meeting, concerns were raised that the position of a commercial development along a gateway into the town would harm Market Deeping’s historic character.

Coun Redshaw added: “It wouldn’t complement the stone buildings and respect the town’s ancient history - the town is proud of the fact it has a Royal Charter granted 800 years ago.”

She added that the town council had repeatedly requested Larkfleet to instead place the commercial and industrial units to the east of Spitfire Park, on land which has also been allocated for development, but where Larkfleet instead plan to build around 200 homes. This would be subject to a separate application, which Larkfleet’s agent Mark Mann told the committee is currently being prepared.

Questioned on why Larkfleet still decided on building the commercial and industrial units along Peterborough Road, Mr Mann said: “We have not ignored the town council’s requests. We have been at pains to try and accommodate their concerns. We intend to create attractive and high quality office units along the Peterborough Road.”

He added: “If we relocate the commercial development to the east, we believe it would be less attractive to the market and the chances of delivering employment in this location would be less.”

Planning committee member Coun Rosemary Kaberry-Brown put forward a proposition that the application be refused on the grounds that the commercial site could be relocated.

This was seconded by Coun Judy Stevens, who represents the Deeping St James ward. Calling on the memory of her former colleague, Coun Reg Howard, who died earlier this year, she said: “I think Reg would have been absolutely appalled to think this is happening to his beautiful town of Market Deeping.” Coun Judy Stevens described the application as ‘make or break’ for the town.

After the proposal to refuse the application was lost, another to approve it was made with several conditions and amendments added.

Coun Michael King put forward a condition that all the buildings along Peterborough Road be office units not light industrial, and that a further plan detailing this be submitted by the developers.

Coun Charmaine Morgan added an amendment that the buildings be restricted to two storeys, and that additional details on landscaping and a buffer zone be provided. SKDC planning officer Justin Johnson also added a condition for further details on noise and air pollution.

This amended proposition for approval was approved by 14 votes, with two voting against.