Local Development Order formally adopted to extend season for East Lindsey's coastal businesses

More than 20 holiday parks in the Skegness area have applied to extend their season following the formal signing off by East Lindsey District Council of the Coastal Local Development Order (LDO).

Holiday parks can now apply to stay open.

East Lindsey District Council said it had received 22 notifications by the beginning of the week, which are now being considered.

"Those accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment are the subject of consultation with the Environment Agency and other consultees for a maximum period of 21 days," explained ELDC.

Subject to approval, an LDO allows holiday parks and seasonal accommodation to open from March 1 to January 5 for holiday occupancy, including a time when planning rules would previously have meant many businesses had to close.

The signing off of the LDO comes in spite of objections from Lincolnshire County Council and the Environment Agency.

East Lindsey District Council say extending the holiday season through the introduction of the LDO is an important step in assisting businesses in their recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. and was brought forward by the council following requests from the business community.

However, both the Environment Agency (EA) and the County Council (LCC) written to the Secretary of State to oppose the LDO’s introduction citing concerns that are primarily concerned with the risk of flooding.

The Secretary of State is considering how to respond to those concerns, and there is a possibility that he may decide to revoke or modify it to take account of those concerns. However, before he does so, he has invited the council to make further representations.

ELDC argues that the LDO is safe because any business applying for an extension of the season under the LDO must first provide a robust flood risk assessment and evacuation plan for their business, which the District Council must approve.

"That will ensure that caravan sites and holiday parks will be evacuated well ahead of any major flooding event, and the council believes that on any reasonable view of matters this fully addresses the concerns raised by the EA and LCC," a statement reads.

Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID, to which local businesses pay a levy to promote the area, has commissioned a Flood Risk Management Consultant to create a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) and Flood Water Evacuation Plan (FWEP) templates to assist those who wish to apply for a season extension.

The BID is urging local businesses in support of the coastal LDO to send a letter of encouragement to [email protected], advising that the risk to life can be managed by the business responsibly and include examples of good practice in respect of emergency, resilience and evacuation procedures and processes.

Stuart Hardy, Director of Hardys Farm Ltd, said: “For our businesses, it is imperative that we extend the season to allow us to retain our team members, and improve the quality of visitor experience.

"This is simply impossible without somewhere for visitors to stay, and in this area, our main source of bedstock is within the holiday park sector.

"We have undertaken work to reduce the risk in the event of a flood warning by committing to the early evacuation of holiday parks far before the stage that local residents would be asked to leave the area, which would allow an orderly departure from the area and not inhibit the local population.

“The economic benefits to extending the season are great, however by limiting the tourism season to 7-8 months of the year, we make it very difficult for the local business community to provide career progression and training opportunities due to the disruption that is caused by continually closing and reopening each year.

"Without extending the season and changing the way we are able to work, we will find it impossible to offer the quality of service required to match our competitors around the country who are already operating on much longer seasons and are able to retain and develop their workforce to meet the demands of today’s visitor.”

Happy Days in Chapel St Leonards have applied for LDOs for two of their sites. In the planning application papers submitted to ELDC, they state: "The period being granted by the LDO will allow the park to open during November , December and will also cover the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"It will also enable the park to open two weeks earlier in March.

"Whilst occupancy will no doubt be lower than during the summer season, this additional opening period will be of significant benefit to the park and will assist in recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown."

For more information on the LDO, visit www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/CoastalLDO