Refusing job creating schemes is ‘shameful’

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MAJOR coastal attractions claim their attempts to create jobs and prosperity have been hampered by a ‘shameful’ planning policy, which restricts retail development outside Skegness.

East Lindsey District Council has refused a number of Fantasy Island’s applications to expanding its popular indoor market, claiming the development could harm Skegness as a retail centre.

Chief executive Laurence Davis cannot understand why improving the Ingoldmells resort, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the coast in its own right, should be restricted by Skegness.

He said: “We are trying to create a situation where the mums, dads and grandparents have activities to do while the kids are enjoying our rides.

“That has crated a massive footfall of people who would not necessarily be visiting Skegness, because they are coming to the coast to visit Fantasy Island.

“When there are no major government backed projects being funded at the moment, I think anything which is about creating jobs and opportunities should be supported.”

Mr Davis claims the market has reached its current capacity but believes that by expanding to create a fresh food section, Fantasy Island could support local entrepreneurs and agricultural producers, while improving its visitor offer.

Ingoldmells Parish Council had supported the resort’s application, believing it to be a ‘great opportunity’ and shares Fantasy Island’s concerns about its reasons for refusal. Having seen other major applications to expand Ingoldmells attractions refused on the same basis, parish clerk Mike Allen fears ELDC is harming the village’s tourist offer. He said: “It’s really quite shameful of the district council to be blocking these new initiatives - we are supposed to be developing tourism and to do that we need to be updating and offering more to our visitors.”

ELDC planning team leader Chris Panton said the planning policy is in line with national requirements, but could be altered if Fantasy Island could be considered a ‘special case’.

He said: “The development of the offer along the coast is vitally important if we are to improve the economy. We have met with a number of coastal businesses to look at how we can help facilitate business improvements through the planning process.”