South Willingham cycle park plans dividing opinion

Plans for a new cycle park are up for approval next week, but they have divided locals’ opinion, with hundreds responding to the proposals.

South Willingham cycle park
South Willingham cycle park

East Lindsey District Council’s planning officers will ask councillors to take the brakes off The Wolds Cycle park at Hainton Estate, near South Willingham, on Thursday (December 1).

Alongside new cycle tracks and trails the development, from Christopher Heneage Farms, will include a new visitor centre with café, bike shop and classroom along with around 200 car parking spaces.

The trails will include learn to ride facilities, pump tracks and other routes of varying difficulty.

South Willingham cycle park.

The plans have the backing of East Barkwith and Parish Council, Benniworth Parish Council, Sport England and ELDC’s economic growth team.

Around 179 representations of support have been received by the council from the general public.

Those in support say it will bring benefits to local businesses and employment, helping the sustainability of the area as a whole.

They say it will promote the area as a destination and help mitigate the county’s “poor record when it comes to physical activity”.

It will also help increase the number of people taking part in exercise and sporting activities by promoting cycling.

However, there have been 213 objections received, including from South Willingham Parish Council, the British Horse Society, the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Services and Natural England, along with a petition of 68 signatures, against the plans.

There are concerns around the increase in traffic through the village particularly on narrow roads currently used by farm traffic, walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

There are also worries the development will be too large and will result in the loss of ecological habitats and will have a negative visual and polluting impact on the Wolds Area of Natural Beauty and surrounding conservation areas.

The Horse Society in particular points out the the lack of rights of way equestrian users have, and fear they will lose the use of the Lindsey trail which attracts horse and carriage drivers to the area. They say proposed passing places on the road will be insufficient.

On Thursday, officers will tell councillors that although “sensitivities” of the location are noted, they believe the location would be “sustainable”.

“On planning balance, when weighed against the benefits in terms of economic, tourism, employment and health to the wider district, the proposal is considered to be acceptable, particularly, given the opportunity to use conditions to manage or control detailed considerations around materials, lighting and landscaping,” they said.