The proposal - submitted by applicant Mr Sharpley and approved by East Lindsey District Council’s planning committee in July - will see 13 new flats and two commercial units built on Sharpley’s Court and Horton’s Yard (off Pawnshop Passage) near Kidgate, plus the conversion of an existing building into a single storey home.
Prior to the approval of the application, Louth Town Council and Louth Civic Trust objected to the plans - along with a number of objections from nearby residents, with concerns including the size of the development, the impact on the appearance of the local street scene, and the blocking of light for nearby homes, as the flats will be within a three storey apartment building.
One of the residents in opposition to the plans was Kidgate resident Yvonne Finnie, who has launched a formal complaint and submitted it to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Mrs Finnie said she believes that the planning decision was made within a very short time frame at the planning meeting in July, being discussed for just a few minutes before going to the vote.
This was compared to a much longer period of time spent debating the only other item on the planning agenda that day - regarding an extension to a single garage in North Thoresby.
Mrs Finnie also objects to the fact that, while residents could watch the meeting via Zoom, they were not given an opportunity to speak, whereas in ‘pre-covid’ times there was usually an opportunity for someone to speak for several minutes, whether in favour or against the application, on behalf of local residents.
Mrs Finnie’s letter to the Ombudsman states the two reasons listed above as her grounds for complaint, plus claims that the objections, and the impact of the proposed development on neighbouring properties, were not given sufficient consideration by the planning committee.
Mrs Finnie told the Leader: “Since the planning was approved on July 2, a group of ward residents have been going through the extremely lengthy formal complaints procedure regarding the impact of this development on the character of the surrounding area and lack of consideration regarding the impact of nearby long established and considerably smaller residential dwellings.
“We [have contacted] the Ombudsman, and have also clubbed together to pay for an initial Right to Light document, which shows the strength of feeling amongst the group of residents nearby, and the conviction that this development will encroach upon legal rights to daylight.”
Mrs Finnie added that the Ombudsman is expected to get back in touch with her in five to six week’s time.
Meanwhile, Councillor Sarah Parkin, one of the district council representatives for the ward, told the Leader she was “concerned about the conservation area, and standard of design”, adding that simply being “slightly better than a car park” is not enough to justify the scheme.
Councillor Parkin said: “My objection is that it doesn’t blend, and there is nothing in keeping with the area.”
Coun Parkin said that it sets a worrying precedent, adding: “I would fear to see another one or two of these in the conservation area again.
“I hope that the planning committee will really listen to [the residents’] concerns.
Coun Parkin concluded that, in theory, the applicant could make amendments to the planned design in order to allay some of the concerns.
• Both the planning agent (Lincs Design Consultancy) and ELDC were approached for comment, but no response had been received before this newspaper went to press.