Final approval granted for Lincoln City stadium venture

A major mixed-use project that is proposed to include a new stadium for English League One football club Lincoln City has been given the final go-ahead after the Government elected not to ‘call in’ the scheme’s planning application.

Work to deliver Lincoln’s Western Growth Corridor can now progress, with a planning decision notice for the project issued yesterday (Thursday) as the Secretary of State’s office confirmed it will not be scrutinising the proposals.

City of Lincoln Council approved the Western Growth Corridor plans on January 12. Western Growth Corridor, which will be jointly delivered by City of Lincoln Council and Lindum Western Growth Community, will be the largest project undertaken in the city for decades, with backers stating it will bring more than £500m (€598.2m/$678.1m) worth of investment into Lincoln over its lifetime and provide hundreds of jobs locally.

The development will supply the city with 3,200 new homes, a leisure village, an industrial park and transport infrastructure that intend to help alleviate some of Lincoln’s worst traffic problems. The stadium development is contained in ‘phase 4D’ of the masterplan and would take three years to complete. However, the total timeframe for the project has been outlined at 22 to 23 years so the stadium itself could be some way down the line.

Lincolnshire County Council asked the Government to intervene after it was not convinced measures to address increased traffic had been addressed properly. The project has proved divisive with more than 250 objections lodged by local residents ahead of last week’s City Council vote. There are also concerns the 240-hectare Swanpool site sits on land that is prone to flooding.

However, the City Council believes these concerns have been addressed, with initial works on site expected to begin later this year. Leader of the City Council, Cllr Ric Metcalfe, said: “We are very pleased that the Secretary of State has rejected the call-in request for the Western Growth Corridor planning application, giving city councillors the ability to make the ultimate decision for the site.

“The planning application has significant local importance; it is policy compliant and allocated within the Local Plan. Government has responded quickly and favourably in refusing the call-in and allowing us to progress with the project. The decision notice for the site has now been successfully issued, and I look forward with the project starting in the near future.”

Mark Foster, Lindum planning director, added: “We are delighted that the plans have not been called in by the Secretary of State and we are now looking forward to re-engaging with the local community, ward councillors and Lincolnshire County Council as highways authority, to deliver a scheme that’s right for Lincoln.

“We have taken note of concerns raised during the application process, and articulated on the night of the Committee, and we want to work together to ensure we get this right. It has taken many years of hard work to get to this point and we are pleased to see the scheme now gathering momentum.”

Lincoln City last week reacted cautiously to news of a potential new stadium. The club currently plays at LNER Stadium, which has been its home since 1895.

Image: Lindum