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Church Commissioners to build 1000 homes in Lincolnshire village

30 June 2023

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

An illustrative masterplan shows where the homes will be built

An illustrative masterplan shows where the homes will be built

MORE than 1000 homes will be built in the village of Bracebridge Heath, near Lincoln, after proposals from the Church Commissioners were granted planning permission, it was announced last week.

A total of 20 per cent of the 1087 houses will be classed as affordable, while new transport links and public spaces, including sports facilities and play areas for children, will also be built. The plans would create “a vibrant new community in the Lincoln area, in line with the vision set out in the local plan for new high-quality places to live”, Matthew Naylor, the strategic-land principal manager at the Commissioners, said.

“Retirement housing will provide much needed places for seniors to live, while a new mobility hub will give residents sustainable transport options that encourage connectivity both within Bracebridge Heath and across Lincoln.”

Planning permission was granted on 5 April. The 44-hectare site is located three miles south of Lincoln, next to the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, and will include a purpose-built residential care home, and a new employment area. A “mobility hub” will include electric vehicle charging points, Park and Bike services, and delivery lockers, while new footpath and cycle links are planned to improve accessibility to Lincoln city centre and the countryside.

Last year, The Lincolnite, a news website, reported that the Commissioners’ original plans had received nearly 40 objections, “including a lack of sustainable transport, insufficient infrastructure and road networks, over-development of the area and a lack of green space”. The number of homes has been reduced from 1123, and the care-home site has moved.

The Central Lincolnshire Local Plan seeks to increased housing in the wider area by more than 30,000. A survey and consultations carried out for the Bracebridge Heath Neighbourhood Plan, published in 2021, highlighted concern to maintain the “village feel” of the area, but also drew attention to a lack of affordable housing for young people in the village, and a “growing need for specialist accommodation” for the growing older population. Bracebridge Heath currently has a population of 5788 and is served by a parish church, St John the Evangelist.

In 2021, the report of the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community called on the Church to use its land assets — it held 6000 acres with “development potential” — to “promote more truly affordable homes” (News, 26 February 2021). While the Commissioners were legally bound not to deliver more affordable housing than a local-authority policy required, the Commission suggested that the Church should “think laterally” and enable the Commissioners to make “sacrificial and prophetic acts of generosity”.

It said that many new homes were “out of reach for much of the local population, due to the current definition of ‘affordability’”, concluding that “neither the 30 per cent volume policy, nor the 20 per cent price discount, are sufficient.”

A spokesperson for the Commissioners said on Tuesday that the definition of affordability for the Bracebridge Heath homes was “in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] and Local Plan Policy”. The NPPF defines affordability as “sold at a discount of at least 20 per cent below local market value”.

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