Town Council Round-Up: The Developers Are Back
November 6th 2013Before the town council meeting of Tuesday, 5th November, developers made a presentation about their plans for 240 homes in the north-west of Louth, roughly south of the bypass and north of St Mary's Park. The outline plans include a green area and ponds to collect run-off water, as well as a provision for sheltered housing for the elderly with communal facilities. I didn't see any mention of a school, because the size of the development apparently doesn't make such provision a requirement. The developer explained that they would expect to build mostly two storey buildings, or two-and-a-half storeys at most (which is to say, with roof dormers).
This is all starting to get familiar, as developers eye up every green patch of land around town. There's also another application for a number of houses off Eastfield Road, plus the Fulmar Drive and Southern Gateway developments. If all of the major housing developments that have been introduced recently get approved, Louth could have over 1400 more houses.
Guy Longley of Pegasus Group told the council that there would be a public exhibition of the 240 homes plan within the next three months.
Councillor Eileen Ballard enquired about holding a meeting about the Southern Gateway in the Sessions House on the 20th November. The council agreed to allow this, and not to charge for it: opposition to the Southern Gateway is being organised by a group led by several councillors, rather than being official town council business, and that's why the question of costs arose.
Bus routesCouncillor Roger Featherstone reported back on the Bus Round Table meeting of 21st October, and the discussion about changing the bus route through town. "The general feeling was that it was going to remain down Church Street," he said. He also reported that people were "quite happy" with the Nipper service.
Councillor Laura Stephenson commented on people's dissatisfaction with the Church Street route. However, she noted that "nobody could yet come up with a suitable alternative."
ELDC Car Parking ScrutinyCouncillor Trevor Marris spoke about ELDC's car parking scrutiny meeting on 31st October. He explained that Louth's parking charge problems were happening in other market towns as well. "Let's hope that this time the scrutiny panel come up with something that works," he said.
Starvation dietCouncillor Brian Burnett had some bad news to share from the Finance Overview Group (FOG) meeting of 21st October. "Our budget is going to be cut," he said.
Later in the meeting he went into more detail about council finances. "Last year we got a grant. That grant has been cut by 25%. It's going to have a major impact on our budget."
The town clerk pointed out that the town council is not susceptible to capping, unlike other councils.
"There is going to be a further cut next year," Councillor Burnett warned. "58 councils are in severe financial problems. The fat has been cut. I feel that local government has been made to bear an unfair share."
The marketOn 19th November ELDC's Councillor Newton and Market Team Leader Nick Davis will come to the town council to be grilled about markets. I'm not sure why this isn't Councillor Craig Leyland's job, since it's his portfolio.
Councillors discussed the issues they'd like to raise in this meeting, including the need for an experienced market superintendent and the problem of empty stalls and traders packing up and going home early. Councillor Sue Locking brought mentioned that the town council was offered the chance to run the market two and a half years ago.
Councillor Stephenson suggested asking whether the portfolio holder would "invest in our market or just run it down the way he has been doing?"
Street lightsIn better news, there will be improvements to street lighting in the Keddington Road area of town. The council will install more energy-efficient lights at Keddington Road, Grosvenor Road, Ada Way, Grosvenor Crescent, and Charles Avenue over the winter.
Planning decisionsGladman's offered up an amendment to their 970-house mega-development plans for the Southern Gateway off Legbourne Road. The amendment included an increase in land height by a metre to a metre and a half in some areas. "It emphasised that it is a major flood risk," Councillor Andrew Leonard commented.
Councillors referred to the development as being in flood zone three. Councillor Burnett said "Zone three is the highest level of flooding. I would say this makes the application unviable."
The town council voted to reject this amended application.
Another major development was up for discussion, this time on land next to 82 Eastfield Road. I'm not sure of the exact number of houses, but I make it around 45. Councillors were mainly critical of the means of access to this development. They voted to refuse it on the grounds that they needed more clarification about how people would access this development.
It seems the applications are coming thick and fast, as though developers are taking a throw-enough-mud approach, and seeing what will stick. Whilst local councils are having to cut back and people are suffering through high car parking charges, somebody has plenty of money to invest in all of these speculative bids.
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