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Council Round-Up: Southern Gateway Plans Are Unhinged

September 18th 2013

wind turbines

How many more?

At the Louth Town Council meeting of Tuesday, 17th September, there were a few things on the agenda, but really only one decision that loomed above all the others.

First, in the public forum Glynn Jones spoke in favour of his application to build a detached bungalow in Monks Dyke Road. "No objections have been received by neighbours," he said.

Indeed, this was a very uncontroversial proposal that the town council later approved with little comment.

Andrew McLaren then spoke out against wind farms. "Louth is a very special place," he said. "But for how much longer? How special will Louth be when wind farms surround it? Louth needs to take a look at itself."

Councillor Laura Stephenson pointed out that the national planning policy framework sets a minimum number of windfarms.

Mr McLaren expressed concern with the number of applications and the number of turbines that could be erected if they were all approved.

Mike Rinfret was the only member of the public to speak on the proposed Legbourne Road development at this meeting. "This many houses will ruin the area," he said. "Where's the need for them? Is it going to devalue my property?"

Awards

Louth won the Silver Gilt Award in the East Midlands In Bloom Competition once again in 2013, in the large town category. The town also took a judges award for Bloom Yarn Bombing. Belper in Derbyshire won the overall award for that category.

This result sounds a little better than it is, because five other towns also won silver gilt in that category. But it's still a pretty encouraging result for a competition that spans six counties.

Petition update

Talking of achievements, Councillor Andrew Leonard reported that the petition to make ELDC listen to the views of the people of Louth over the Cattle Market had "quite easily" achieved its target of 1400 signatures.

"There is an erroneous idea at Manby that this is a Louth-only issue," Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders commented.

Southern no way

The Southern Gateway plans for 970 homes off Legbourne Road were up for consideration. Speaking of the meeting on the 5th September, Councillor Leonard said "Without a shadow of a doubt everyone was against it." He summed up a few of the chief arguments against the development, saying: "This is one step too far."

Councillor Roger Featherstone quoted Anne Shoreland, ELDC's planning and policy manager, who gave a number of figures for house building targets in this area. The most significant of these is the aim to build 1332 houses over a fifteen year period.

Councillor Makinson-Sanders spoke at length against this development. "This would increase Louth by a quarter," she said. I'm not going to quote everything she said, because it was largely a re-statement of the arguments discussed at the public meeting on 5th September.

"If we agree [to the development] it will be a total disaster for this town," Councillor Chris Green said.

The Mayor, David Wing, agreed. "I am totally against it. ... 970 houses equates to the rape of Louth."

"I'm not for 970 houses," Councillor Margaret Ottaway said. However, she qualified that statement. "They're going to have to have housing somewhere. We've got to accept that we do have to agree to some new buildings."

"We are not objecting totally to development," Councillor Green agreed.

The vote was very decisive. No-one voted in favour of the southern gateway proposals. All of the town council voted against it, with the exception of Councillor Stephenson, who abstained. Councillor Stephenson sits on the ELDC planning committee and is obliged to abstain thanks to some bizarre rules about not pre-judging her decision by voting first at town council level.

There's all the evidence that this application is overwhelmingly unpopular within the town, for many reasons. My hunch is that ELDC won't support it either, but the district council's priorities are not the same as the town's.

Other plans

Plans for the revenue buildings at Chequergate have gone to appeal, after being refused at ELDC and Louth Town Council level. The town council criticised the plans earlier this year for over-intensification and flood risk, Councillor Stephenson suggested including quotes from the national planning policy documentation on heritage assets, because of the proposed development's proximity to St James church.

The council opted to approve revised plans for extensions and alterations to the newsagents on Kenwick Road, plans for extensions and other alterations to The Old Coach House on Grimsby Road, and the change of use of offices on 4, New Street into a restaurant.

However, the council did not support an application relating to the construction of offshore wind farms that would connect to the national grid at Killinghome.

"That's a famous area for migrating birds," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said. "I know that these wind farms are supposed to be killing bats."

However, Councillor James Pocklington disagreed. "The RSPB support wind farms. Climate change is a much greater threat to birds."

The vote was divided. However, the town council was only making a response to a planning application that has already been accepted by the relevant authorities, so it's no great shakes.



 


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