We want planning powers - but we don’t want too much responsibility say Horncastle Town Council

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Town councillors in Horncastle have backed a suggestion that they should decide some larger planning applications.

Last year, Horncastle became only the second town council in the country to be handed the power to make decisions.

Councillors heard last month that East Lindsey District Council were delighted with the success of the programme and were considering adding larger applications to the town council’s ‘list’.

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Coun Alan Lockwood thought it was an ‘excellent idea’ as it would enable the council to ensure local opinions were taken on board more.

Clerk Amanda Bushell assured councillors major decisions would continue to be made by ELDC.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson welcomed the initiative, but warned about the danger of the town council taking on too much responsibility.

He pointed out the council was already struggling to find time for some important issues on meeting agendas, and that staff were ‘stretched to the limit.’

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He added workloads would increase, once a transfer of assets from ELDC had been completed.

He said: “While we would all welcome the chance to have a bigger say, we need to be careful.

“This meeting has been going on for an hour and 40 minutes and for an hour and 20 of that we have been discussing things that we have no direct control over.

“While it has been interesting to hear about rough sleeping, we need to focus on things that the general public wants us to deal with - and what we can influence.”

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Councillors did unanimously support continuing with a youth council after hearing an inaugural meeting was a an outstanding success.

Coun Richard Barker said: “These kids - some under 10 - seemed to have more of a handle on things than us. That is worrying!”