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Council Round-Up: 1000 Homes, A New Mayor, And A Scrapyard

March 13th 2013

Councillor David Wing

Mayor Elect David E. Wing

Councillor Andrew Leonard

Deputy Mayor Elect Andrew Leonard

Before the town council meeting of Tuesday, 12th March, developers provided a display of their plans for Legbourne Road. That's the area of fields and farmland on both sides of the road, near the garden centre but not extending as far as the roundabout. Their literature suggests that there's enough land to accommodate between 800-1000 homes.

Notably, the plans include a new shopping centre, play area, sports facilities and a primary school. They told me the shopping facilities meant corner shops rather than a big out of town mall.

Louth's southern gateway

Ivor Beaman, speaking for Gladman, the developers, gave a short presentation during the council meeting to outline what they want to do. He spoke about flooding issues, consultations and various regulations, but was keen to stress that their plans are in their early stages. "There's no preconceived plan at the moment."

Mr Beaman estimated the very earliest the first turf might be lifted would be in eighteen months. I think we can look out for some consultations about this in the coming year. Given the opposition that the 149-home Fulmar Drive development proposals attracted, reactions to this much larger development are certain to be interesting. But there's the problem: Louth is due for developments that will change its size and character, in line with the plans for affordable housing put forward by ELDC. It's not a question of if the town will get new housing, but where and how.

Customer service

On Wednesday 27th March at 7pm there will be free seminars on customer service at the Sessions House. The town council is only providing the room, it's not subsidising this event in any other way. However, Councillor Pauline Watson had reservations. "Why are we providing this? It's not our remit."

Councillor Laura Stephenson disagreed, saying "I think people think we only sit here and talk." Councillor Eileen Ballard expressed concern that hosting this event would send the wrong message about local customer service. "I think the service we get in this town is brilliant."

New Mayor

Councillor David E. Wing was selected as the Mayor Elect, whilst Councillor Andrew Leonard will be the Deputy Mayor Elect. This year the process involved a ballot, with one vote per councillor.

The deputy clerk, Lynda Phillips, got in touch to clarify that this wasn't the election, which will take place on 17th May. However the election will be pretty much a formality.

EMAS

There's tentative good news from EMAS about their plans for Louth ambulance station. However a firm decision isn't due until 25th of March. Councillor Roger Featherstone passed on his wife Jackie's thanks for the council's support in her campaign against the closure of the station.

Localism

The council are planning to send a representative to report on a debate about Localism, which will also be attended by MP Nick Boles. "Localism is going to become more and more important," the Mayor commented.

Councillor Brian Burnett explained that Localism includes the community's right to bid for assets and challenge authorities, for example where a village post office was closing.

"The whole of Localism is geared towards growth," the Mayor said. "It's not a charter for saying 'no'."

If that's the case, it will have interesting implications for major developments such as the Legbourne Road one.

Communications with ELDC

The council discussed their communications with ELDC. The town clerk Linda Blankley noted that they have "no better access than members of the public" to the district council. The discussion moved on to complaints about a lack of telephone directories and hierarchy charts, and poor email practices.

The thing is, this will all be moot if Conservative ideas about abolishing one tier of local government are put into practice.

Road closures

The traffic lights at the Upgate/Newmarket/South Street junction near the Cattle market will be closed for road works from 22nd April. The timing of these works hasn't been finalised, but they're scheduled for a maximum of five weeks, but are more likely to last much less time.

Major works will take place at St Bernard's Avenue from 18th March to 12th April, and these may affect the route of the Louth Nipper buses.

A scrapyard?

GBM Metals Recycling want to develop a waste management site on the industrial estate, on three plots on Bolingbroke Road. The council discussed concerns about noise, and fears that the move could lead to the formation of a large car scrapyard. Plans allow for waste to be piled no more than three vehicles high.

"It is a scrapyard. But it's a legal scrapyard," Councillor Pauline Watson said. "If it's all done according to the rules then that's the proper place for it."

Councillor Stephenson expressed concerns about how it might alter the view of Louth when driving in to town, and the Mayor had concerns that the proposed wood panel fencing was not in keeping with the area and would "give it a scruffy air" if it was allowed to degrade. The council voted to allow this development, with conditions. The application will now go to LCC for a final decision.

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