240 Homes Plan Proves Unpopular
March 14th 2014
Louth has been bombarded by plans for large housing developments recently. ELDC rejected a plan for 970 houses on Legbourne Road this Thursday, but those plans could still go to appeal. And in October 2013 the planning inspectorate ruled that 149 houses could be built near to Fulmar Drive, in spite of opposition from ELDC.
The Southern Gateway development has a lot of things against it, such as its size, and the fact that it's on relatively low ground. So rather than asking people about that, I wanted to question people about the smaller-scale one off Grimsby Road. I was expecting somewhat less vehement opposition, since this development is smaller, and on slightly higher ground.
The pollAre you in favour of the planned development of 240 homes near Grimsby Road?
I put this question to 100 people who passed through the town centre on two market days, Wednesday 12th and Friday 14th of March. It took a little longer than usual to get 100 responses, because the question is quite specific to Louth, so a lot of people visiting the town from elsewhere weren't willing to comment. 98% of those who took part said they were Lincolnshire residents.
54% of people said no, against 14% who said yes. 26% of people said they didn't know, whilst 6% gave "maybe" as their reply.
There were a few common themes that emerged. Lots and lots of people who objected to the development cited Louth's lack of infrastructure as a reason. Schools, medical practices, drains, and parking places were just a few of the pressure points that people envisaged. The lack of jobs for these residents was another concern. Some objectors mentioned the lack of adequate bus links, and potential increases in traffic congestion.
Outsiders, not localsA few people expressed the opinion that local people wouldn't be the ones to move into these homes, and that they would mostly go to outsiders. And one or two people suggested that all of this new development would change the town's character.
No poll is ever one-sided, of course. Some people wanted to see this development go ahead in order to address a housing shortfall.
It's notable that there were more people whose response was "don't know". It will be interesting to find out whether people's views will polarise on the influx of new housing after we've had more planning applications of this kind come through.
My view is that this application isn't the worst one in terms of its suitability. Unfortunately in Louth we don't have the choice between development and no development. Because of ELDc's plan for the spread of housing growth throughout East Lindsey, Louth is one of the towns which will take the brunt of new development applications. So the choice we face isn't whether there will be new housing, but where. Good sites include the edge of town, and wherever there is a low risk of flooding, and in that sense this isn't a poor choice of location. The current plan only allows for one point of access, which is ridiculous because it will make Grimsby Road even busier (and quite possibly impassable for pedestrians). I've already written about traffic problems in that area.
So, with plenty of positives and negatives, and the district council piling on the pressure for some housing development within Louth, I remain undecided about this. Many Ludensians, however, have already made up their minds.
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