Addlethorpe residents remain defiant about 'caravans' plan in spite of promise of jobs and landscaped walk
Residents in Addlethorpe remain defiant in “stopping the village being swallowed up by caravans” – in spite of the number of units in one major proposal being almost halved and the promise of a five star Florida-style development.
Developer Alan French wants to site 290 luxury lodges on 500 acres of land south of Mill Lane, owned by Hardy’s, whose own plans for a £9.5 million luxury village development in Ingoldmells has already won support from East Lindsey District Council (ELDC).
The original plan submitted by Mr French to ELDC was for 490 static caravans but he said this did not reflect the five star luxury lodges he planned to build on site to “American standards” – creating a “bolthole in the UK to offer Brits who have visited Florida over the years quality alternative at home”.
However, the promise of jobs for local people landscaping to include 13 lakes, a woodland scheme filled with wildlife and a pastoral village green along the road frontage failed to convince the parish council at a public meeting held in Addlethorpe.
Members stayed behind after the meeting to decide their next plan of action, resulting in a letter to ELDC “further objecting” to the proposals ands even warning they would be prepared to take the matter to judicial review .
They maintain Addlethorpe should be classed as a small village and not a medium sized one and claim the criteria to decide this, scoring 31 points, was inaccurate.
“The Planning Department have recently disclosed to the Parish Council that that eight of these points were for the bowls club, Methodist Chapel and Community Hall which were no longer in existence at that point and eight points were awarded for four sports facilities that never even existed,” the council state. “Therefore, Addlethorpe should only have been attributed a maximum of 15 points and so it is a small village.”
Villagers who attended were also handed a letter of objection to sign and send to ELDC.
This stated: “Over the past five to seven year period the residents of Addlethorpe have brought to Addlethorpe Parish Council worries and concerns about the growing development of caravan sites and the problems it brings to a small community.”
Concerns included greatly increased traffic on narrow roads without footpaths, resulting in serious safety concerns: no facilities in the village for visitors such as shops or bus services; increased littering on roadsides, loss of privacy and disruption.
The letter also quoted the Local Plan’s objective for a “network of thriving, safer and healthy sustainable communities, where people can enjoy a high quality of life” and the statement “the area between Ingoldmells and Addlethorpe will be protected from any further caravan development”.
It also calls for the council to abide by the Local Plan in considering this and future planning applications.
In spite of the opposition, Mr French stood alone before villagers at the meeting in the hope of winning them over.
He said: “In no way do I want to spoil village life – I am offering to enhance what is low grade arable land and make it into something that will be an asset for the village, as well as providing jobs for locals and a reason for young people to stay in in area.
"As well as five star accommodation, footpaths will connect to Ingoldmells and Roman Bank and there will be a regular themed shuttle bus service to ferry visitors to the beach and attractions. The entire site will feature a two-kilometer perimeter nature walk and cycle path planted in wildflower.
”I feel the static caravans stated on the planning application are not reflective of what is proposed but there are many supporters who I could have brought along to the meeting, including those interested in the job opportunities, which will offer full-time work all year round for the next five years.”
Chairman of Addlethorpe Parish Council Coun Neville Towers said jobs for locals was no use for the village “as the average age of residents was 75”.
He said: "”We can’t build any houses here for our young people but you want to build 490 lodges?”
Ahead of the public meeting there were 168 letters of objection and 265 expressions of support, which Mr French later said he had spent .three months gathering telling businesses “the good and the bad” about the proposals.
Villagers at the meeting felt this was not a good reflection of local opinion and, according to Coun Towers, many supporters “had nothing to do with the village”.
He was backed at the meeting by Coun Colin Davie, Ingoldmells Rural councillor on Lincolnshire Council Council, who went along to support the villagers who he represented which, he said, “I will always do first and foremost.”
Coun Davie, warned of “dark times ahead” due to the economy, fearing caravan owners selling up and leaving empty pitches such as the 300 at ELDC’s own Kingfisher site.
“We have to make sure that those that do exist are sustainable and not become like hotels in Skegness that cannot operate as such and are being filled with refugees,” he said.
"There has to be balance and residents of Addlethorpe and Hogsthorpe, who are also facing this, will have the chance to make their voices heard in the elections next year.”
One resident, Lorna Hand, said she had lived in the village 30 years. “I didn’t come here to look out of my window and see caravans,” she said.
Another resident, John Everseen, said he moved to the village 60 years ago, and could remember walking through Ingoldmells and there being fields.
"Now it’s just caravans. I don’t want Addlethorpe to become like that.”