Plans to protect parcels of green land in Stamford are among suggestions in the latest draft of the town’s neighbourhood plan.

The final draft of the neighbourhood plan is set to go out to its last round of public consultation and among the new proposals are plans to protect green spaces in the town by designating them as “local green spaces”.

This means they could only be developed in very special circumstances and would hopefully put paid to instances of housing developers trying to auction them off with the risk of potential further development, as happened with Jelson Homes in Stamford.

New developments in Stamford would also be required to have open green space, under the proposals put forward by the neighbourhood plan.

Another suggestion within the plan, which has been nearly two years in the making, is the creation of a “green wheel” around the town to link areas of green space. It is called a green wheel because it circles part of the town, with spokes leading from the outside routes into the town centre and will mean the town is more sustainable for pedestrians and cyclists.

The plan states: “Connectivity and movement through the town is important for it to be a sustainable and adaptable place”.

Stamford First is behind the plan and chairman of the group David Taylor, a town and district councillor, said green spaces were a “big issue” for Stamford.

He said he hoped the proposals outlined in the plan would be backed again during the next round of consultation, which is due to be before the end of the year.

Following that, it is hoped the completed plan will go forward to the Planning Inspector in the Spring with a referendum in the Summer.

If adopted by residents, the plan will help shape the development of Stamford over the next 20 years and will mean that any planning applications will have to comply with the policies set out in the neighbourhood plan.

Policies which are included within the plan aim to ensure –

– That development takes place in the locations preferred by Stamford residents, identified by Stamford First’s surveys

– That new developments are the subject of design codes which will mean new housing will have to be designed to be in keeping with its surroundings.

– That development is supported by appropriate infrastructure and services including appropriate provision for schools, healthcare and local amenities. (The plan supports a new primary school and leisure centre)

– Support for planning applications which provide appropriate employment space for existing Stamford businesses and which will be attractive to those outside the town wishing to relocate here

– That proposals for enhancing or enlarging existing car parks or creating new ones are supported

– The protection of existing green spaces within the town and the creation of new public open space within any new developments

– The creation of a “green wheel” around the town which will link areas of green space allowing connectivity between communities by foot or by bike

The plan sets out strongly that the “historic character and identity of Stamford is maintained and enhanced”.

It calls for the town to be developed “sustainably” while retaining “its unique, special and distinctive local character”.

Coun Taylor added: “What, above all things residents have asked is that the neighbourhood plan should protect Stamford – its heritage assets, green spaces and its special character – and that is exactly what this plan will enable us to do.”

Coun Taylor was keen to ensure residents know the limitations of the plan.

He added: “This plan is not a panacea and it has limitations – it cannot for instance, determine the number of new houses which should be built. The extent of development is set by the government which in turn issue local authority targets with which (in our case SKDC) are duty bound to comply.

In a similar way the plan is unable to influence local and strategic highway and roads, drainage or other utility infrastructure and it cannot conflict with the strategic policies in the SKDC Local Plan.”

Two further pieces of work are required before the draft plan goes to consultation –

The first of those is a full survey of all open public space in the town in order to develop policies to protect it. The aim of these policies will be to safeguard areas of green space from development and will include land on Rutland Heights and on the Scottish estate.

The second study will be an Urban Character Assessment, which will identify the existing design characteristics of the different areas of the
town.

Further information about the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan can be found on the Stamford First website

Read more in the Stamford Mercury