New ELDC headquarters, public sector hub and college get the green light

Councillors have approved an £8.25 million new home for East Lindsey District Council and Boston College saying it will ‘bring the authority into the 21st century’.

The new ELDC headquarters will look like this

Opposing councillors, however, have called it a “waste of money” and said the offering “failed to cut the mustard”.

The facility, planned for the former Horncastle Residential College off the town’s Mareham Road, appeared before the council’s planning committee today (Thursday).

The new headquarters will play a major role in ELDC’s plans for a greater focus on council staff working remotely, while the new council chamber will also be used for college lectures, weddings and community events. Boston College would have access to four classrooms and ancillary space.

Councillor Helen Matthews said: “It’s long overdue for improvement and renovation, and I think it will bring ELDC more into the 21st centre in that offer, a more economically viable building, it will add to the economy. There are more plus points than negatives.”

Councillor Billy Brookes said: “If you take out who’s applying for it, you’d say it’s great to see such large financial investment coupled with college education for young people. It’s a good investment to see coming forward.”

Plans for the site were revealed in March, however, the costs have been under discussion since October.

Council leaders have previously said the project will be cost neutral due to the sale and redevelopment of both Skegness Town Hall, and Tedder Hall in Manby.

Councillor Neil Jones said the move was a “wonderful opportunity” for new homes to be built on Tedder Hall and would make the authority “significant amounts of money”.

However, Councillor Terry Aldridge said: “It’s an absolute waste of money when we’re in such dire straights and with what’s coming.

“You are not thinking about the people that are going to work there. There won’t be sufficient parking.

“This is a very bad decision and in years to come people will look upon what I’ve said and say yeah, you were right.”

Councillor David Hall said he did not believe the college’s offering would “cut the mustard” towards education.

He added: “I don’t particularly think we should be doing this yet, especially considering how up in the air everything else is at the moment”

Opponents to the site have also raised concerns including increased travel time, the impact on nearby historic cottages, increased traffic, and public transport.

The first courses at the college are expected to begin in September 2021.

Following the planning committee meeting, ELDC leader Councillor Craig Leyland said: “This is a major milestone for this fantastic project and our Officers will now work to ensure that we are able to meet the conditions specified by the committee.

“By partnering with Boston College to bring forward a new education facility, we can ensure that our residents can access quality education within the district.

“This is crucial to helping provide East Lindsey businesses with access to a pool of talented individuals that have the skills they need to help them grow and boost the local economy. Our new shared office space will also allow us to work far more collaboratively with our partners, helping us all improve the services we provide to our local communities.”

Claire Foster, Boston College Principal & Chief Executive, added: “Never before has it been more important to provide opportunities for people to train or retrain for jobs and careers that will really make a difference to individual lives and the economic fortunes of our county.

“We are really excited to be working hand in hand with the council in Horncastle to drive the critical skills agenda for East Lindsey to enable people to get a job, a different job or a better job especially in such tricky times.”