Connect with Tim PharoahConnect with Tim Pharoah

Grantham canal basin masterplan

A good plan undermined by a bad planning decision

Often in consultancy one finds that good options have been precluded by some previous commitment or scheme. In this case, the project was half way through when it turned out that planning permission was about to be granted for a new development that was inconsistent with the concepts of conectivity developed in the draft masterplan (see pdf). This was pointed out to the planning officer on the eve of the planning decision, but the scheme was approved anyway. This effectively scuppered a proposed pedestrian spine route through the canal basin area to link the town centre with recently developed housing to the west.

Particularly puzzling was that the recent housing development appeared to have been configured to enable just such a link to be created (see photo).

Pedestrian access from the town centre to the west is very constrained in Grantham because of the East Coast mainline railway. The main route west passes under the railway in a narrow tunnel which is wide enough for a footway only on one side (see photo). Pedestrians approaching on the southern footway must first cross over to the north side, and are then met with a staggered and guardrailed crossing before reaching the town centre. It is an inconvenient and unpleasant experience.

However, there is another arch under the railway that is wider and less claustrophobic, and carries only access traffic to an industrial site (which would have been relocated away from the area in the proposed masterplan). This arch would have provided a high quality pedestrian route from the town centre to the western part of Grantham. This possibility has now more or less been closed off by the new development that was given permission during the course of the study.


1. Why did the client not tell their consultants about imminent planning decisions in the masterplan area?

2. Why was the issue of a new access through the site apparently not discussed with the applicant? The applicant might well have been willing to amend development to provide a pedestrian access route.

3. When the conflict with the masterplan was highlighted, why was permission granted for the new development regardless?

LocationGrantham England
Date(s)2008 - 2009
Client(s)Lincolnshire District Council; Lincolnshire County Council
Team(s)Tim Pharoah with EKOS and Matrix Partnership


Masterplan, regeneration, town centre links, accessibility planning, connectivity, permeability, transport planning

images (2)

The present inadequate pedestrian route from the town centre to the western housing areas
New housing configured to provide for a new pedestrian (or other) new route to the town centre (beyond the fence). This route cannot now be created because of a new office development to be built immediately beyond the fence.

attached documents (1)

related pages (0)