A COASTAL planning policy to limit caravan site occupancy periods is ‘poorly thought out’ and ‘leaves no incentive for economic investment’, tourism reliant businesses have warned.
A caravan operator and a planning consultant each raised similar concerns about East Lindsey District Council’s draft ‘Coastal Policy’ during last Wednesday’s Skegness Town Council meeting.
The businessmen both welcomed positive statements contained in the report such as: “The coast will be a vibrant place where people want to live, invest, visit and work.”
However, they felt these objectives would be counteracted by the report’s recommendation to limit caravan site opening times to between March 15 and October 31, which they feared hamper the region’s prosperity.
Speaking in the public session, Skegness Caravan Sales’ Elton Mason said: “It looks like Skegness could be on a reduced season - let’s not reduce the season, let’s increase it through clever planning policy and strong enforcement of operational policy.”
Mr Mason’s concerns were echoed moments later by Lincs Design Consultancy’s Andrew Clover, who feared a reduced season would disincentivize businesses from investing in the coast. Given the existence of a sea defence strategy to ‘hold the line’ for the next hundred years, Mr Clover felt the district council’s proposals were unnecessary to preserve safety.
He said: “East Lindsey’s strategy is fire fighting, not long term.”
The Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson agreed that it was a ‘serious matter’ and suggested it be included as an agenda item for the next town council meeting.
He said: “We rely heavily on tourism and it’s been said that we are having an awful season, but by reducing the months it will have a huge impact on jobs, the economy and the way people live in this town.”
ELDC has pledged its commitment to supporting a thriving economy while preserving the safety of residents and visitors.
Coun Craig Leyland said: “The draft Coastal Policy looks at how we should facilitate growth along the coast but in doing this we do need to take seriously the issue of coastal flooding in the decisions we make.”
Coun Leyland also believes proposals to impose a levy on caravan sites to fund beneficial community projects, could help the coast and explained that a full community consultation will be held before any final decisions are made.