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Town Council Round-Up: Market Day Pedestrianisation, Dog Controls, And Major Plans

June 25th 2014

Hubbards Hills

Hubbard's Hills

Thanks to a three-week break and a packed agenda, the sessions house was full to capacity at the town council meeting of the 24th June.

Jay Garrett was the first to speak in the public forum, on the topic of the cattle market. "When will LTC wake up to the fact that the town is divided on the issue?" he asked.

"These 21 councillors represent 16 or 17,000 people," Councillor George Horton said. "You are representing 1700." The figure of 1700 is roughly the number of followers of the Move Louth Forward Facebook group.

"The council has not given a collective view on whether it does or does not want a supermarket," the Mayor, Andrew Leonard, said.

EARLY

In April one of the directors of EARLY spoke to the town council about plans for a sports complex on the industrial estate. Ian Blakely returned to speak after ELDC asked them to withdraw their application. "The application was not acceptable due to a commercial element," he explained. "ELDC want to renegotiate on the commercial value of the land on which we will sit. We are a non-profit-making community interest company."

EARLY's new application still includes a football stadium, a clubhouse, and parking. It no longer features a tenpin bowling alley, squash courts, and a BMX track.

Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders was critical of ELDC, saying: "It's totally unacceptable to come along six months later and pull the rug from under your scheme."

Eastfield Road

Mrs Williams spoke on behalf of residents of Eastfield Road against the planning application for a number of dwellings on land adjacent to 82, Eastfield Road. Oddly the application doesn't specify how many dwellings. I counted 57 on the plans, going by the division of gardens, but that estimate may be inaccurate.

"This development would be completely out of character," Mrs Williams said. She pointed out that the ground there was elevated about three metres above the surrounding houses. "That will create problems with overlooking. What about the loss of views for existing residents?"

Flooding was a particular concern. "The issue of flooding is getting worse with the climate," Mrs Williams said. "We have had raw sewage in our garage. In emergencies they [Anglian Water] will filter raw sewage into the Lud." She also pointed out the existence of natural springs in that area, and access problems for cars. "We feel there could be more suitable sites in Louth."

"All the reasons that you have put down are the exact same reasons affecting other developments," Councillor Eileen Ballard said. "They are not listening. They are selling Louth."

Councillor Pauline Watson pointed out that developers often claim they can mitigate for flooding. "I would urge you not to hang it all on flooding." She suggested the residents look for other planning reasons to object to.

Market day pedestrianisation

A resident wrote to the council proposing closing the centre of town to traffic on market days from 6am to 3pm. This closure would include disabled drivers and delivery vehicles.

Councillor Roger Featherstone said "I can't see a problem with this." He suggested a slightly later finishing time to allow market traders to pack up.

"To close it during the week you are going to have problems with deliveries. The days that it is not closed you are going to get every delivery van in the country coming to Louth. This is going to be a big issue. The town has got to work and you've got to allow it to work."

Councillor David Wing was in favour of market day pedestrianisation, saying: "I think it's a good idea."

Councillor Margaret Ottaway suggested first doing a survey of the shops that get deliveries.

Councillor Fran Treanor was critical. "You can't keep providing further space for vehicles at a loss for delivery vehicles. Louth is a congested town." However, he did concede that he "would like to see the Cornmarket pedestrianised."

Councillor George Horton advocated a short trial period of a month or three for these proposals. The council voted in favour of asking the Town Partnership to investigate the issue further.

Dog menace

Earlier in the public forum Mrs Judith Jenkinson called for stricter controls over dogs in parks, citing problems with dog fouling. "Parks in Louth are being taken over by irresponsible dog owners," she said. She cited a recent petition calling for secure dog runs, and for dogs to be on leads in Hubbard's Hills and Westgate fields.

The Mayor pointed out that Westgate Fields are run by the district council. Hubbard's Hills is run by a trust, of which the Mayor and several other councillors are trustees. "Probably 99% of dog owners are responsible," he said. "But there are irresponsible owners. People can be very aggressive and rude when challenged."

"I would start taking a few photographs," Councillor Ottaway suggested. "I am sick and tired of being told that we don't have a problem."

"Hubbard's Hills is for every single person and their pets," Councillor Ballard said. "Something has to be done because someone is going to get bitten."

Councillor Neil Ward criticised the dog warden provision, saying: "One dog warden is a joke."

"Why not have a separate area fenced off?" Councillor James Pocklington asked.

However, the Mayor wasn't keen. "I think we'd get a very large public backlash if we start fencing off areas of Hubbard's Hills."

"A dog ate another dog, and dogs eat ducks," Councillor Makinson-Sanders said. She criticised dog owners who let their dogs out of their cars and sit in the vehicle, leaving the animals unsupervised.

The town clerk, Linda Blankley, reported that ELDC wouldn't count the petition as complaints, and they had only received four complaints with regard to dog fouling in Westgate Fields.

"There are very few places where you can let the dog off the lead," Councillor Wing noted.

The council voted to allow Hubbard's Hills Trust to discuss this issue and come back with a proposal.

The cattle market

The cattle market debate rages on, but ELDC's scrutiny committee have now released their report, which is available online. A Mr S. Dennis has also applied for planning permission for a cattle market on Belvoir Way on Fairfield industrial estate. Councillor Treanor commented that this "It's in the completely wrong place."

"This has been a farce from the very beginning," Councillor Andrew Austin said. "They [ELDC] have followed the advice of a flawed report. The 70,000 has not been substantiated." 70,000 refers to the amount of money the district council was allegedly losing each year on the cattle market, which is not backed up by figures in the scrutiny report.

There will be an extra council meeting on 1st July at 7pm at the Sessions House to discuss matters relating to the cattle market. This is happening because of the number of new developments, and the speed they are being moved through the district council. ELDC are due to make a decision on 23rd July.

Youth council

After a working group met to discuss setting up a youth council, Councillor Horton reported that the concept "had mileage because potentially these youngsters will be the councillors of tomorrow."

Councillor Chris Green agreed, saying: "Youth councils are definitely worth doing."

There was some discussion about whether the council should involve the 13-18 age range, or 11-18. However, the council resolved to set up a youth council, without specifying which age groups will be involved yet.

Planning decisions

The town council supported EARLY's application to build a football stadium, spectator stands, and a clubhouse on the industrial estate.

The council rejected plans for four single storey houses on Mount Pleasant, due to access problems. They also rejected plans for a cattle market at Belvoir Way on the industrial estate.

Louth County Hospital applied to build four extensions to the hospital on High Holme Road. The council supported this.

Gladman made another application for outline permission to build 970 dwellings near Legbourne Road, the so-called Southern Gateway. The town council rejected this.

In my initial studies of this application I couldn't figure out how it differed substantially from Gladman's previous application to build 970 homes on that site, which ELDC and the town council had rejected.

The town council also rejected plans for an unspecified number of dwellings on land near Eastfield Road.

Finally, Mr A. Waller sought planning permission for eight houses and a boundary wall at the site of the Revenue Buildings on Chequergate. The town council also refused this.

All of these planning applications will progress to ELDC for a final decision. What's interesting is the high number of refusals, which goes against ELDC policy for house building, as well as the government's plans to build more houses in general, supported by the New Homes Bonus. Residents often object to nearby developments, but the political climate means Louth is going to have to accept some expansion, and if the council keeps saying "no" it could prove expensive in legal fees when developments go to appeal.



 


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