A planning policy restricting coastal housing development is ‘blinkered and unimaginative’ and will see Skegness ‘stagnate and die,’ town councillors fear.
East Lindsey District Council’s Draft Core Strategy, which will shape the region’s development over the next 15 years, came under intense criticism during last week’s Skegness Town Council meeting.
Councillors feared the strategy’s recommendation not to support coastal housing development, due to flood risks, would spell a death knell for Skegness.
Coun Steve Kirk said: “If you really want to kill somewhere, let’s stop people living there.
“It’s so blinkered and unimaginative.”
Many of the councillors felt a policy supporting flood resistent housing design would be more constructive and agreed to relay their comments to ELDC before consultation on the strategy ends this Friday (today).
Coun Neil Cooper said: “By design we should be able to mitigate against these problems.”
Councillors also expressed concerns about the report’s vision for the economy in Skegness, which places a high emphasis on tourism but little support for year round employment or a more diverse jobs market.
A report by town clerk Steve Larner warned councillors that the approach ‘does not tackle how to sustain a town centre economy’ and that it ‘is difficult to see how the strategy will help Skegness thrive.’
Coun Gary Ellis felt the report’s economic policy should enable the town’s diversely skilled resident to use their abilities in employment, rather than restricting them to the limited range of jobs currently available.
He said: “We are not a one trick pony town, we encompass all.
“We should be looking at what skills there are in the area and creating the jobs to match.”
Councillors decided to put their own recommendations on the housing and economic development of the town into writing, which they will urge ELDC to incorporate in their final strategy.
The Mayor of Skegness, Coun Mark Anderson, said: “We need to stick together and fight this and fight this hard.”
The draft strategy is available on ELDC’s website.