Consultation opens today on Central Lincolnshire Plan
A district councillor has pleaded with Caistor residents to make their views known about future development earmarked for the town.
West Lindsey District Councillor Owen Bierley has stressed that decisions will now be made by an independent examiner, not by local planning officials.
Cllr Bierley was speaking at the April monthly meeting of Caistor Town Council last night (Thursday, April 14, 2016). His comments came as a surprise. Previous conversations had suggested local councils would have a final chance to put their case, but few people seemed to realise the public would also be able to present views.
A six-week public consultation is opening today (Friday, April 15, 2016) on what has now been renamed as the “Emerging Local Plan for Central Lincolnshire”. The plan sets out a vision for development in the area over the next 20 years and is likely to reach the final stages in December 2016.
There is a website where the relevant information can be viewed, at http://central-lincs.objective.co.uk/portal/central_lincolnshire A submissions plan and policies map should also be available to view at Caistor’s Arts and Heritage Centre at 28 Plough Hill.
The preferred method for the public to submit views is online. People will need to register on the site in order to submit comments, which will be published. The public consultation is due to end at 11.59pm on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
Cllr Bierley was championing the case for a western relief road in Caistor to be included in the Central Lincolnshire Plan, and was asking people to comment.
However, Cllr Bierley said the issue was closely linked to the proposal to allow housing development off Brigg Road on land near to Waterhills.
A planning application for 72 homes off Brigg Road was submitted to West Lindsey District Council nearly two years ago. The matter was deferred pending reports but West Lindsey District Council is expected to make a decision within weeks. Planners are still inviting people to comment on the application at http://docs.west-lindsey.gov.uk/WAM/createComment.do;jsessionid=CC6F39CDDC6BE84D6496A7A9BCBD6DD9?action=CreateApplicationComment&applicationType=PLANNING&appNumber=131181
More details about the application for the 72 homes can be found at West Lindsey’s website at https://www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/my-services/planning-and-building/view-applications-decisions-and-appeals/search-our-planning-application-database/ and clicking on “View associated documents” which appears in green letters.
Town councillors last night expressed dismay at the lack of information about the 72-homes application. Cllr Michael Galligan said people felt “the wool was being pulled over their eyes.”
“There is no wool being pulled,” said Cllr Alan Caine, in response. “There is nothing happening.”
Town Clerk Helen Pitman added: “It has been taking umpteen emails and calls. We have had trouble getting hold of the planning officer.”
“We are in the lap of the Gods as far as West Lindsey is concerned, but why there has been nothing happening since July 2014, I don’t know,” said Cllr Caine, who is chairman of Caistor Town Council’s Planning Committee. “We have made inquiries at top level. They had the option to refuse it due to lack of information. While it sits we cannot do anything. It is frustrating, to put it mildly, and it is causing bad blood in the town.”
Ms Pitman was not alone in expressing frustration at difficulties in communication with other authorities, and nor was the plan for 72 homes the only issue affected. Throughout the meeting there were reports of updates being sought without success for various issues, including works to the Former Fire Station at Horsemarket, where an issue of safety had been raised, and clearing ‘contaminated’ rubble from the layby at Riby Road. Repeatedly, the message seemed to be that Caistor’s concerns were not being addressed, with budget cuts being blamed. The discussion prompted County Councillor Tony Turner to describe the current climate as “the worst” he had seen. “In all the years I have been on the council, I have never known it so difficult,” he said. He urged people to “keep trying.”
Pictured above: what the emerging Central Lincolnshire Local Plan says about housing provision in Caistor.
While referring to the relief road, and the plan to allow housing development on land between Brigg Road and Hundon Walk, Cllr Bierley said the two issues were closely linked. He urged everyone to find out more about the third consultation process on the emerging Central Lincolnshire Plan which would open this week. “These decision are not going to be made by officers locally,” he said. “Everything will be bundled up and sent to an independent inspector. That inspector has been appointed and will consider all the representations received and hold a hearing session which will be crucial,” said Cllr Bierley. He said physical improvements to attract visitor numbers was considered important and said the community must continue to make the strongest possible case.
Cllr Clive Rudd sought clarification on the route of the relief road. Cllr Caine said there were two phases of the project, with the first being from the A46 between Caistor and Nettleton to the Cherry Valley Bends, and the second phase being from between the Cherry Valley Bends to Brigg Road.
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