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Town Council Round-Up: Councillors Criticise The Nathaniel Lichfield Retail Study

April 16th 2014

Bee on apple blossom

This has no relevance to the article

The town council meeting on Tuesday, 15th April featured plans for an exciting sports development on the industrial estate. Lee Freeman, one of the directors of EARLY (Educational Advancement Recreation for Lincolnshire Youngsters), spoke about them in the public forum.

Mr Freeman said EARLY were "looking to develop additional and complimentary services". He asserted that the project was "not just about football" and that they were looking at multiple uses. "Any commercial revenue will be used to subsidise any community groups."

EARLY is a community interest company, and the plans include ten pin bowling, squash courts, a cafe, a football pitch and stadium, a BMX track, and parking provision. Councillor Neil Ward welcomed their proposal, saying "It seems a most worthy project."

Councillor Sue Locking queried whether the scheme could accommodate the skate park.

"The short answer is yes," Mr Freeman replied. He revealed that their group was in talks with the skate park group, and that two companies had expressed interest in becoming commercial partners with EARLY for this scheme.

Councillor Trevor Marris raised the issue of traffic concerns due to young people accessing a site which is on the edge of the industrial estate.

"There are some risks," Mr Freeman conceded, but he confirmed that EARLY was working with Highways to mitigate them. "We don't think it's a show stopper," he said.

Later on in the meeting the town council voted to support this planning application. It was uncontroversial, and the council had previously supported EARLY's similar application on 17th December.

The Annual Town Meeting

At 6.30pm on Tuesday, 13th May the annual town meeting will take place at Sessions House. There was some discussion about low attendance by members of the public at similar meetings, and whether this was due to apathy.

Councillor Laura Stephenson said "I don't think that people can't be bothered. I think that people think they won't be listened to." She stressed that that was not the case, and that councillors would listen to the public.

However, Councillor Pauline Watson disagreed, saying "They are hardly intimidated by it. They just can't be bothered."

The Town Clerk, Linda Blankley, mentioned that the town had paid for an announcement about the annual meeting in Love Louth, which will be delivered to every house in Louth.

Councillor Jack Wood suggested that the town council could post a free event on Facebook for more publicity.

Retail Assessment Report

Nathaniel Lichfield recently released an updated retail assessment for Louth. (I'd link to it, but ELDC have recently beefed up their website uselessability, in case anyone thought there was a danger of finding things on their site). Town councillors commented on the report.

"It talks about leakage out. It does not talk about leakage in," Councillor Roger Featherstone said.

Councillor Locking pointed out that once developments at the former Brown's Garage on Newmarket, at Queen Street, and at the planned Aldi on Newbridge Hill had been built, Louth's retail capacity would be "filled up".

Councillor Watson asked "Who would come from Grimsby if there's nothing but a big Tescos, when they've got one there?" She described the assessment as "completely flawed."

Councillor George Horton was also critical of the report, which he described as "very expensive." He expressed confusion about the concept of overtrading. "It seems like a good position to be in," he said.

Councillor Fran Treanor was critical of the amount of retail space the report calls for. "If we're not careful we're going to get Louth flooded with new housing estates and a huge supermarket," he said.

Councillor Locking also labelled the report "flawed".

No town councillors spoke in favour of the report's findings.

Street lights and traffic

It costs around 1200 to install a new street light. So the town council turned down a request to fund one for Spital Hill, which Lincolnshire County Council does not have funds for.

However, the town council did vote in favour of installing a traffic census device on Grimsby Road. Measuring the traffic there will be important in the light of the 240 homes that Charterpoint want to build in that part of town.

Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders also proposed a separate traffic management review of the Conservation Area*, in the light of a number of recent accidents. "The streets are clogged up with cars because nobody wants to pay to park," she said. "The town is turning into a parking disaster."

*Update and clarification: Councillor Makinson-Sanders has asked me to clarify that she is calling for a traffic assessment of the whole of Louth, not just the Conservation Area. The Conservation Area was mentioned in the council agenda for that meeting.

Councillor Leonard agreed, saying "We do need a traffic management review." He cited the number of upcoming developments.

Councillor Fran Treanor noted that Lincolnshire had hit the headlines due to the high amount of revenue the council obtains from parking charges. "All this has escalated since the parking review," he said, describing the parking on Church Street as a "nightmare". "They have forced extra traffic onto the street."

The council voted in favour of a traffic assessment.

Planning

Larkfleet Homes want to develop 140 homes on land off Kenwick Road, and they are inviting the public to view their outline proposals on 28th April at the pavilion on London Road from 3pm-7pm.

This development is just to the west of the Legbourne Road site where ELDC denied planning permission for 970 houses to be built.

On Bolingbroke Road on the industrial estate, Mr J. J. Waumsley sought permission to convert a former carpet showroom into a children's indoor play area. The town council supported this, in spite of a few comments about whether or not non-industrial activities should be allowed on what is supposed to be an industrial estate.

Mayor and Deputy Mayor Elect

Something that didn't come up during the meeting, but I heard it from the councillor herself, is that Councillor Sue Locking was voted in as Deputy Mayor Elect on 1st April. The current Deputy Mayor, Councillor Andrew Leonard, is the Mayor Elect. They should be sworn into office some time in May.



 


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