West Lindsey votes to keep joint local plan

news@lbobserver.co.uk
news@lbobserver.co.uk

West Lindsey is to push ahead with the joint local plan for Central Lincolnshire.

District Councillors last week voted to carry on with its current plan with neighbouring councils, rejecting a call from residents from Lincoln-fringe villages who want the council to produce its own district plan.

Protesters against the Central Lincolnshire District Plan presented WLDC with a 550-signature petition, saying it would lead to too much housing around their villages.

But councillors voted overwhelmingly to continue developing the current plan, at an Extraordinary Meeting of the council that called to debate the issue.

In a report for the meeting, council chief executive Manjeet Gill said West Lindsey no longer has the power to produce its own district plan and the council would face extra costs producing one, assuming the government gave it permission to do so.

Several hundred turned up to attend a council consultation event at the EPIC Centre near Lincoln, just priior to the meeting, which continued until well after 10pm.

Council leader Jeff Summers says the many questions from residents were “answered fully” but “some members don’t grasp what we are trying to achieve.”

“We have to make sure we have a local plan by the end of 2016,” he said.

If West Lindsey pulls out of the joint-plan with neighbouring councils, an independent plan would take a year or two longer to develop.

“It would be open season for developers to fill up fields with houses. It would leave us open to all types of development we would not be able to resist. there are odd people who cannot get their head around that. It’s silly politics coming into play,” he said.

An initial draft plan went for public consultation at the start of the month, with the close of submissions due on November 11. But Coun Summers says some comments may be accepted by officers afterwards.

“It’s still a draft document to go back to the joint planning unit. A second draft will appear at which more changes can be made. It’s not done and dusted,” he said.

Market Rasen district councillor Ken Bridger said “we had no option” but to continue with the current plan, which has cost much money to develop.

“If we pull out, we would be two years behind in putting a plan in place. Looking at it now, it’s a shame we can’t produce our own plan. It wouldn’t have been cheaper had we gone it alone. But we are where we are now and we have to make the best of it,” he said.