Threat to suspend Brigg Road homes meeting

Caistor Town Council last night (Thursday, June 16, 2016) voted overwhelmingly to reject an outline planning permission for 69 homes on land off Brigg Road in Caistor.

The town council was formulating its response to the application, to be taken into account by the planning department of West Lindsey District Council when deciding the application.

Tempers spilled over early on in the meeting when it became clear the public would not be given a chance to speak. Thirty four people, nine councillors and the Town Clerk turned out for the meeting.

A proposal by Cllr Michael Galligan to suspend standing orders to allow the public to speak was rejected by six votes to three, after the Planning Committee Chairman Alan Caine said he would suspend the meeting if it was carried.

Cllr Caine said it would be unfair on the applicants to allow the public to speak, as their agent had approached the town council before the meeting and asked if he could address the meeting. The request had been denied.

It was unclear why the agent’s request had been denied, or why the agent did not attend the meeting. A source close to the applicants later said the agent had offered to be on hand to answer queries, rather than seeking to address the meeting.

Members of the public expressed dissatisfaction at being denied the opportunity to speak, with one even challenging Cllr Caine to telephone the police. They continued to express their frustration even after the meeting was over.

Cllr Caine hinted at the reasons why he did not want anyone other than councillors to speak at the meeting. He said he had read through the letters of objection that had already been received by West Lindsey District Council, and very few, in his opinion, would have been taken into account as they did not focus on relevant planning considerations.

“It has to come from the head, not from the heart,” he said. He pointed out that he had listed the relevant grounds for objection on his Facebook timeline. They are shown below:-

Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 12.58.46
Councillors were clearly concerned that time was running out in which to arrange a new meeting if last night’s debate was deferred. It had already been deferred once, from last week’s monthly council meeting.

There was a discussion as to whether the length of the consultation period was 21 or 28 days. West Lindsey District Council’s website specifies a 21-day public consultation period. A plan for 72 homes was submitted in 2014, and an amended application for 69 homes was submitted on June 3 this year.

Besides the frustration of the public, the business of listing relevant planning considerations was also sidetracked as some of the councillors expressed anger.

Cllr Clive Rudd read an extract from a document that had been circulated to the public in January, giving reasons for voting Yes in January’s referendum on Caistor’s Neighbourhood Plan. It said it would allow Caistor a greater say over future planning applications. “This document has hoodwinked the people of Caistor,” he said.

In response, Cllr Caine pointed out there was a valid planning application before the Neighbourhood Plan referendum was held.

Cllr Caine said it was important that the council also submitted conditions if the application was successful, or it could lose the opportunity to seek conditions at a later stage. He suggested conditions on the style and number of dwellings.

Planning objections put forward by the council included concerns over access, drainage, infrastructure (in respect of power, sewerage, education and medical facilities), archaeology, and that a road use survey did not reflect the new developments at Caistor Lakes, Wolds View Touring Park and Wolds Retreat and the extra traffic generated by them. There were also fears that water run-off would swell the volume of water further downstream and destroy wildlife habitats.

Cllr Caine, who abstained from the vote, also referred to a letter apparently seeking a financial contribution for the Caistor Development Trust through a Section 106 agreement if the application (for 72 homes) was successful. The letter is displayed on West Lindsey District Council’s website at http://docs.west-lindsey.gov.uk/WAM/doc/Consultee%20response-650836.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=650836&appid=1001&location=VOLUME2&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1

Cllrs Caine and Galligan said they knew nothing about the letter, but declared a personal interest as they were both members of the Caistor Development Trust. Cllr Caine said he has never disclosed whether he was for or against the application, while Cllr Galligan said he was totally against it.

The picture shows people gathering at Caistor Town Hall ten minutes before the meeting started.

3 Comments

  1. Heather Grant

    A well written and accurate piece Shona. Those who object to this application should really be proactive and object properly within the guidelines you have listed. There are plenty of valid reasons why it should be rejected but they need to be set out in the correct way. Since the application was first submitted in March 2014 we have lost 2 nursery providers – the Kindergarten and Montessori, the primary school has created 15 nursery places but that is only a small number compared with the likely number of families the development could generate. The primary school is absolutely crammed, the surgery is struggling with the increase we have already experienced, Brigg Road is extremely hazardous with the sharp, blind bends, the sewage works is totally inadequate, the Waterhills are, as the name suggests, extremely wet with the numerous springs running down Canada Lane causing a muddy swamp at the bottom which is never cleared.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. Paul Stubbs

    A housing development of this size in that area should never have got this far. As has already been stated Caistor cannot expand till the correct infrastructure has been put in place. The development will not only be detrimental to Caistor but also dangerous. On top of that the drainage from Waterhills will be affected destroying the many orchids we see each year, they are extremely susceptible to drainage.
    Who is gaining here, well of course the developers. Why would we want to start building on the Jewel of Caistor, The Waterhills!!!
    One more thing I had been waiting to see the notice outside on a lamp-post detailing the proposed development. It did not appear, and why, because I have just been told I was informed by e mail – not so, I received nothing. There may be many people who do not realise we now have very few days to object.
    The comment made by one of the councillors at Thursday’s special development meeting is ringing true. He said, “he has a feeling no matter what we do or say this development is going to go ahead!!” Yes I feel we have been hoodwinked. Come on people of Caistor, get those complaints in and make a fight of it.
    Paul Stubbs

    Reply
  3. Paul Stubbs

    Forgot to mention I have also notified our local M.P. Sir Edward Leigh to see if he can help our cause his e mail if anybody else wants to write to him is edward.leigh.mp@parliament.uk

    Reply

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