Calls to look at building homes along the coast

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New calls have come for the planning ‘block’ to be lifted on construction of new houses in Skegness and Mablethorpe.

Because of the Environment Agency’s adamant views on coastal flood risk, permissions for significant new residential developments in the two towns are now difficult to achieve.

In line with national policy, East Lindsey planners believe inland towns such as Louth are preferable locations for new homes.

But at a planning policy committee meeting on Thursday, councillors agreed that the time had come for a rethink.

Chairman Coun Richard Fry said the two towns were ‘well defended’ from the sea and would most likely remain so.

“If we have confidence in our defences why should we not reconsider the case for allowing residential development on those brownfield sites that are available?” he questioned.

Support for this view came from Coun Tony Howard who was unimpressed with the ‘box’ housing favoured by housebuilders in the UK.

He continued: “We lag very much behind other countries which have found successful solutions for building next to large expanses of water.

“Perhaps East Lindsey could set an example that might be followed in other coastal areas.”

Vice-chairman Coun David Andrews said most demand for seaside homes was for bungalows, but Coun Howard expressed a preference for construction of houses because they would be more likely to attract families, which would be to the benefit of school rolls and economic activity.

ELDC planning policy manager Anne Shorland agreed on the need to be ‘innovative’ but she warned that, if the authority’s planning partners disagreed, adoption of a new Local Plan might be delayed or found to be ‘unsound’.

She warned: “We could be on a hiding to nothing.”

However, the committee resolved that officers should be tasked to prepare a report exploring a new approach to housebuilding on the coast.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” insisted Coun Fry.