ELDC defends '˜meaningless' housing figures

Figures which appear to restrict the number of new homes that could be built across East Lindsey aren't worth the paper they are written on, it has been claimed.

A key element of the district council’s long-awaited Local Plan is the number of homes allocated to individual towns and villages over the next five years.

It was widely thought the figure would act as a barrier to over-development amid fears popular towns and villages could be swamped.

Woodhall Spa, for example, was allocated 341 homes but it has now been confirmed that is a minimum number - and there is no maximum.

Following talks with East Lindsey District Council (ELDC), parish councillors in Woodhall Spa have described that figure of 341 as ‘meaningless’.

All towns and villages allocated homes in the Local Plan are in the same position.

However, ELDC has issued a statement, defending its policy.

The statement says: “We have actively consulted with town and parish councils on the emerging Local Plan and it has always been clear that the number of houses allocated to communities is a minimum and not a maximum.

“The council is not able to limit housing growth in the area; but it considers each planning application on its own merits and in line with Planning Policy.

“Woodhall Spa Parish Council has confirmed with ELDC that it is fully aware that the housing figures are a minimum requirement and that all planning applications for housing will be considered based on the harm that they cause in planning policy terms - and also the five year housing supply at the point in time when an application comes forward.”

Several town and parish councils are privately questioning why a housing supplying number was included in the Local Plan - if it is a minimum.

In Horncastle, there was widespread relief when the Local Plan did not allocate any additional new homes for the next five years - because of the hundreds that have already received permission. Clearly, that nil figure does not restrict how many homes could actually be built.

The meeting between Woodhall Spa councillors and ELDC came amid fears hundreds of homes could be built in the village - way over and above that figure of 341.

Parish councillors claim local services could not cope and discussed a number of concerns with ELDC - including the allocation of Section 106 money which developers pay to improve services.

The parish council described the meeting as ‘good’ and said it helped clarify a number of issues

*A full report can be found on the parish council website: www.woodhallspaparishcouncil.org.