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Town Council Round-Up: Speeding, Judicial Review And Flood Scheme Costs

October 9th 2014

In the public forum, a resident raised the issue of speeding along St Bernard's Avenue, and the nuisance of boy racers. Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said: "I do feel sorry for the residents. I cycle up there quite frequently and I do feel cars go fast."

Councillor Sue Locking suggested asking to introduce traffic islands. "It blocks the roads and stops the speeders."

Other councillors discussed various traffic calming measures. Councillor James Pocklington described attempts to get traffic calming measures put in place around Little Lane. Speaking of Lincolnshire Highways, he said: "If they think there's a case then they'll do a speed check to work out what speed people are actually doing on average. In terms of trying to get any help to install traffic calming, it's certainly a long shot."

The council resolved to write to LCC and the police about the situation at St Bernard's Avenue.

Judicial review review

Resident Jason Garrett had a lot to say about the council's decision to take the district council to judicial review. "Myself and a great many others are concerned by the action of Louth Town Council to join with Keep Louth Special to seek judicial review. In an online poll conducted just last week more than 800 people responded, of which 82% were against this action. Please consider that you may not have the majority backing for this action, and that the cost of this is of great concern to all, especially in light of recent budget cuts in the area, and especially in light that it's highly unlikely that the end result will actually change the outcome."

Councillor Neil Ward, who voted against going to judicial review, said: "It was not unanimous. The whole town council aren't in favour of this."

Councillor Pauline Watson abstained from the judicial review vote. She said: "It is the ratepayer who at the end of the day will pay the bill, so I'm not entirely in agreement. Whatever my views are, whether it was done correctly or not, I feel that if Keep Louth Special want to have a judicial review then they should do it alone."

The Mayor, Andrew Leonard, criticised the online poll, which was conducted by the Louth Leader, saying: "Their voting process was slightly flawed because you could place multiple votes on it, so it wasn't quite as fair as it seemed."

I don't know how valid that is, but if an online poll is vulnerable to stuffing then anyone with enough technical knowledge can play, whether they're for or against the debate. But who has time or motivation for that?

Mayor's remarks

The Mayor reported that Neville Wiles, a former town councillor, had passed away.

On a lighter note, Deputy Mayor Sue Locking spoke about Louth's silver gilt award in the East Midlands In Bloom competition, and thanked "everybody who helped in any small way." Only 23 towns gained the gold, which Councillor Locking described as "very, very hard to get." She said: "I think we did extremely well."

"We also got a special judges award that revolved around the work done in the cemetery," the Mayor said.

Speed checks

The Town Clerk, Linda Blankley, revealed that there would be speed checks on Legbourne Road in November. Checks on Kenwick Road have also been carried out. Reports on both roads are due in January. These checks are a response to requests by members of the public who were concerned about speeding traffic.

Alford town council

Alford town council wrote to LTC with concerns about ELDC's policy for housing, and in particular how the restrictions on building on the coast would put additional pressures on market towns such as Alford, Louth and Horncastle. Councillor James Pocklington commented: "The main beef seems to be that they think more building should be going on down the coast... rather than in the towns in terms of existing flood risk. As a council we agreed that building around existing infrastructure made more sense as well. I don't agree with the gist of the letter."

Other Councillors were more favourable to Alford's stance. "I think we've just got to go along with Alford and start making noises against ELDC," Councillor David Wing said. "They've sort of lost the plot a bit," he said, referencing Louth's cattle market and Horncastle's town hall. "They've been making several bad mistakes."

"We want to grow at a pace Louth can cope with," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said. "To put a suburb on the side of Louth the size of Spilsby doesn't actually seem quite common sense to me but that's probably what we're going to get." She also advocated supporting Alford town council, saying: " There is hardly a rural area that doesn't have the same gripe as us... It's sad because we still need to produce food."

Councillor Pocklington warned about flooding issues, saying: "Don't lose sight of the fact that there is a serious issue with living on the coast." However, Councillor Brian Burnett said that "part of our coast is accreting, at Theddlethorpe. The real flood risk area is Mablethorpe down to the Wash."

The council resolved to ask Alford town council for a joint meeting to discuss this further.

Flood attenuation costs

The Town Clerk informed the council that the Environment Agency were going to fund their legal advice for the Louth flood attenuation scheme. However, that was some of the better news about this scheme's finances.

Councillor Burnett explained that the council had a choice between making an annual contribution to the Environment Agency, or building up a balance in the council's budget. The Town Clerk described a "huge variance" in the projected annual costs. This means that some years the scheme might cost up to 65,000 a year to maintain, whilst in others the costs could be far less.

"There are huge peaks and troughs," the Clerk said. The projected estimated costs would be 1.1 million over 100 years. "The Environment Agency are bankrolling it, but they are also providing the security and evening out the peaks and troughs."

Councillor Pauline Watson expressed concerns about the increase in costs, and also in the possibility of handing money over to the Environment Agency to manage. "I don't agree that we should hand over this money," she said. "The Environment Agency might not exist in three years time."

Councillor Makinson-Sanders suggested that other parishes between Louth and the North Sea might contribute. "Alvingham floods frequently," she said. Citing surface water flooding, she said: "We are solving one problem, but we do have other problems in Louth."

The council resolved to send documents to their legal advisers. We don't really know how flood risk is going to look in Louth in 100 years, or indeed in the rest of Lincolnshire, so many of these projections are wild guesses which will get more inaccurate the further into the future we go.

Men's shed

Louth Men's Shed has plans to renovate the pavilion at Charles Street. The Men's Shed is a project for men over eighteen to take part in projects in order to meet socially and improve their skills. Whilst no councillors spoke out against these plans, some expressed concerns about the site's future ownership.

"Is this an asset of East Lindsey that they're giving away?" Councillor George Horton asked. "I think they're giving us a long term lease," Councillor Pocklington, who is a member of the Men's Shed, said.

The town council voted to write a letter of support for the project, which will help it when it comes to applying for funding.

Planning

There were a lot of major plans up for consideration. However, most of these had already been considered and refused by LTC, and in most cases the developers had submitted fairly minor revisions.

The town council:
  • objected once again to an application to build 240 dwellings on land off Grimsby Road.
  • approved a request to build 57 houses on Ramsgate Road, an application they had previously rejected.
  • approved a request to build six houses on land near Brackenborough Road, an application they had previously objected to.
  • supported plans to build twelve dwellings on land near Julian Bower.
  • objected once again to an application to build 98 dwellings on Park Avenue.
All of these plans will go to ELDC for a decision. Even the approval of the medium-scale development on Ramsgate Road is a change of direction for LTC, because they have a history of refusing major housing plans.



 


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