PLANS to restore an historic building, which for years has remained an eyesore in the heart of Spilsby, have been stalled by ‘shambolic’ planning delays.
Gary Batten, the owner of One Market Street, was ‘very frustrated’ that East Lindsey District Council had delayed his plans to begin improving the building by at least two months.
He said: “It’s very frustrating to say the least and it’s not very professional on their behalf.
“They’ve complained about how long it has taken to restore the building and then they cause delays of their own.
“It’s just a total shambles and not fair for the town.”
Mr Batten felt his application to restore the dilapidated old building should have been heard in July but that has now been delayed until September because ELDC was not ready to begin hearing.
An ELDC spokesperson said: “The reason the application was not on the agenda is because there are a number of competing issues before the council and they have to be carefully considered before the report is finalised.
“One Market Place Spilsby is a listed building and therefore any application needs full and very detailed consideration and we were simply not at that stage of the process when the agenda closed for the July meeting.”
Mr Batten hopes to receive funding support from Lindsey Action Zone, and is fearful that these delays could hinder his chances.
There is also a significant chance that further delays may occur, as the conservation officer previously recommended the application’s refusal due to the absence of a chimney, which they deemed to be an essential historic feature of the building.
Mr Batten has expressed further frustration at the conservation’s officer insistence on a chimney, which he believes would be impossible to include in an historically authentic manner.
Having made major efforts to include many of the building’s other period features in his restoration plans, he cannot understand why the chimney is such a sticking point.
Spilsby Town Council shares Mr Batten’s disappointment with the delays and cannot understand the conservation officer’s recommendations.
Speaking at Thursday’s meeting, planning chairman Coun Julia Pears said: “We all agreed it was a good project, we thought it was high quality and we wanted it to get a move on.
“We thought that in terms of economic regeneration, the quicker the better and now apparently it has been refused.
“I’m very disappointed they can’t get a move on with this - everyone will be asking us why it isn’t going ahead.”
Councillors suggested inviting all of the involved parties to a meeting with the view to beginning work as soon as possible.