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Housing in East Louth

September 29th 2020

A field planned for housing  

141 homes are planned for this field

Plans for housing on the east side of Louth have come forward in two notable developments, but the government's recent Planning White Paper puts the democracy of future planning decisions in doubt.

Eastfield House

Plans have come in to turn Eastfield House, the former county council building on Eastfield Road, into residential dwellings for the over-55s. This would entail changing Eastfield House into 13 flats, and also building a detached block of 5 houses around the back. The latter would involve removing some of the trees on the grounds.

Louth Town Council has already objected to this application on a number of grounds. People can comment on these plans, reference N/105/01310/20 on the ELDC website, until 16th October.

Plans for 141 homes still pending

Meanwhile, plans for 141 homes off Tennyson Fields await a decision. With eight neighbour objections listed on the planning portal, this development is unlikely to be decided by East Lindsey's planning committee, and instead is likely to be decided by an officer decision. This is both because the number of objections isn't high enough, and because the site was already allocated for housing in the 2018 Local Plan.

The deadline to comment passed on 18th September, so a final decision may not be long.

This development is one of three housing estates just outside of Louth's eastern boundary, and although it's right next to the town, people living there won't pay a precept to Louth Town Council.

Only a couple of sites remain in Louth that have been allocated for housing on the Local Plan, but haven't yet been developed or awarded planning permission to develop. These are Wallis House on Birch Road, and a site at the top of Fanthorpe Lane. That is far from the end of development in Louth, but it does mean that future plans will largely be outside this scope, so-called "windfall" housing that should be subject to more scrutiny.

The Planning White Paper

Unfortunately, the government's plans for the planning system don't entail a lot of scrutiny at all. Planning For The Future is full of suggestions that would make it harder for people to have a say. It favours "moving away from notices on lampposts" in favour of more technology (East Lindsey already has a fully online planning portal, as well as paper options). It advocates removing local discretion on housing and making decisions more rules-based. And on page 20 it talks about simplifying local plans so that land is put into Growth, Renewal, and Protected categories.

Local authorities will be obliged to produce local plans within 30 months, which doesn't leave much leeway for gathering good evidence and consulting. That's not great for a place with as much geography as East Lindsey. The idea behind the paper is more front-loading of decision making onto the local plan, and far less at the stage of decisions on individual planning applications. Which isn't going to be great if you've just moved into an area, or if you were unavailable during the few months the entire plan was being set.

At the moment, Planning For The Future is just a poorly conceived paper. However, if it makes its way into legislation then there won't be as much chance to have your say on your local area, and the democratic processes that currently go into deciding what can be built and where will be weakened.



 


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