AMBITIOUS plans for a major housing development which will double Gainsborough’s population over the next 20 years are set to come into action this year.
Gainsborough urban extension forms part of a long term expansion and regeneration of the town by building more than 2,500 new homes on land south of Foxby Lane.
Last year, The Standard spoke to landowners Thonock and Somerby Estates and property advisors Savills who said they hoped work would have started on site in autumn 2012.
After delays, they now hope the work will get underway in 2013, and it is estimated that the development will take 12 to 13 years to complete with around 200 new homes added each year.
Savills’ head of strategic land Mike Shaw said: “At the moment we are finalising the design brief with the local authority with a view to embarking upon the delivery of the first phase of development to the west of the scheme.”
“Everything remains deliverable and the focus is getting this development going during 2013.”
Speaking of the project last year, Mike said: “We are very keen to produce something of quality, but these things take time – things such as the roads which need to be designed in detail with approval from the highways authorities.”
“Rest assured, we are doing all we can to get on and deliver new and high quality housing for the town, as well as schools, commercial space and employment.”
Also in the plans for the ‘new neighbourhood’ are two primary schools, a medical surgery, retail and office units, parks, a lake, cricket, rugby and two hockey pitches, as well as an all weather multi-use games area with changing facilities.
There is a total ban on cul-de-sacs, colour palettes for roof tiles, bricks that reflect the local Victorian heritage of Gainsborough and tree-lined streets.
The land up for development falls within the South West ward of Gainsborough.
West Lindsey councillor for that area, Trevor Young, said that he and many of his constituents had mixed feelings about the project.
“The general feeling from most people in the town that I have spoken to is that this might not be the best area to develop whilst we have large areas of developed and neglected land that have been vacant for year,” said Coun Young.
“I’m talking about areas like Carr Lane, Bowling Green Lane and various pockets of abandoned space. Shouldn’t those areas be a priority? Also, how are they going to get the right level of infrastructure in place?”
“Saying that, this is of course a very welcome investment into the town and I wish them the best of luck in delivering it.”
He added: “It would be fantastic for the town because growth is the only way we’ll become sustainable, but I doubt they’ll achieve something on this scale in the next 10 years with the current economic climate - it seems like speculation.”
If all goes according to plan, then 2013 will see some dramatic and transformative changes for Gainsborough - with a new KFC restaurant on Church Street, a new retail park on Carr Lane and a complex with shops, hotel, a cinema and more on the Elswitha Quarter.