Agency ‘harming’ coast development

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A CARAVAN park owner raised concerns about the Environment Agency’s ‘hampering’ influence on coastal development with Mark Simmonds MP at a recent public meeting.

Jonathan Moses of Blue Anchor Leisure said that his business could not expand because of the government agency’s restrictive influence on planning applications.

Speaking after the latest Business Breakfast meeting, held in Skegness on Friday, he said: “I’m not criticising the EA because they do a good job at protecting the coast and I understand that people have got to be safe but there needs to be a balance to allow businesses to grow.

“I feel from the historic knowledge that I’ve got from working on planning applications that planning officers listen very closely to the EA but there’s no one who works with them who is more business minded to look at an application’s potential to develop more employment round here.”

Blue Anchor Leisure recently applied to expand its season by admitting residents from March until January.

Skegness Town Council supported the application due to the perceived economic benefits it would provide, however East Lindsey District Council’s final decision was to reject the application.

Mr Moses believes the refusal was based solely on the EA’s fears of flooding, which he feels are excessive given the advances in sea defences and early warning systems that have taken place.

Although Mr Simmonds felt the EA had improved from being a ‘blocking agency into an enabling agency’ he agreed that it needed to avoid a ‘blanketed approach’ to planning applications.

He said that a more sophisticated approach to planning policy was required to enable appropriate development to take place and prevent Lincolnshire falling into ‘atrophy’.

He said: “East Lindsey District Council, the Environment Agency and I are working together to find a way through this problem because we need businesses to expand and to create more jobs and encourage people to visit.”