Revamp plans for Sleaford Market Place could face judicial review

The heated debate around pedestrianising Sleaford Market Place is set to take its largest twist yet as the town council is proposing to take North Kesteven District Council to Judicial Review over its revamp plans.
Petitioning campaigner Anthony Henson in Sleaford Market Place.Petitioning campaigner Anthony Henson in Sleaford Market Place.
Petitioning campaigner Anthony Henson in Sleaford Market Place.

NKDC’s scheme for Sleaford Market Place has seen resident opposition continuing to mount against the council’s vision for the site.

The £1 million proposal seeks to revitalise the Market Place by stopping cars from parking on the square, as well as including flowerbeds and public seating, among other elements meant to nurture a cafe culture.

While the seating and flowerbed aspects of the plan had already previously been approved by the district council’s planning committee, its vision of parking had been sent back for deferral on two separate occasions due to concerns about adequate disabled parking to access the facilities close by.

Local businesses on the Market Square fear it could kill footfall and thus their earnings.

Now, Sleaford Town Council has voted to allocate funding for the initial exploration of a Judicial Review into the matter.

Sleaford Town Councillor Dave Darmon confirmed: “The Town Council voted to agree funding to enable making the first steps towards a Judicial Review, but will seek advice as to whether it’s likely to be successful or not before committing to a potentially expensive process.”

Chris Pilkington, Clerk of Sleaford Town Council, said: “The Town Council is currently in the process of seeking legal advice to establish whether we have grounds to take NKDC to judicial review regarding its plans for the Market Place.

“Whether it does in fact go to judicial review will depend on the advice we receive.”

A planning committee last Tuesday looked at what was considered the “sole remaining issue” with the proposals - the issue of disabled parking spaces at Market Square.

North Kesteven District Council’s updated plans for the market saw the inclusion of eight blue badge holder spaces that can be used for up to two hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

This was approved by the planning committee, despite more objections arriving, and the delivery of a petition by resident and campaigner Anthony Henson, which saw close to 1,000 people sign against the council’s plans in the space of just two weeks.

As a result of this petition, the issue of Sleaford Market Place will be subject to a Full Council debate on January 25.

Commenting on the possibility of a Judicial Review, Anthony Henson said: “It would be absolutely absurd if North Kesteven District Council force the spending of taxpayers’ money on both sides of a legal action, simply because they were too pig-headed to consult.”

North Kesteven District Council has been contacted but did not comment by the time of publication.