Major planning document for district delayed

Coun Craig Leyland
Coun Craig Leyland

East Lindsey District Council has admitted a major planning document is still not ready to be submitted for Government approval.

The council’s long awaited ‘Core Strategy’ will cover all development in the district for the next 15 years.

It will identify sites for new housing - and the number of homes that can be built in locations including the Skegness and Spilsby areas.

The document has previously been rejected by a Government inspector.

Now, ELDC’s planning supremo Coun Craig Leyland has admitted a revised version is unlikely to be submitted until after next May’s district elections.

Coun Leyland accepted that until the document is approved by Central Government, town’s and villages will be wide open to what he called ‘speculative developers’.

However, he warned it would be ‘reckless’ for ELDC to submit a final blueprint to the Government - without all the required information.

Coun Leyland admitted ELDC’s previous Core Strategy had been vetoed because it failed to meet Government targets and guidelines.

He said there was every chance another flawed document would suffer the same fate.

Coun Leyland has however confirmed that no new housing is planned for the centre of Skegness due to the coastal flood risk.

Coun Leyland warned that if ELDC did not meet Government targets, its powers as a planning authority could be forcibly reduced.

Coun Leyland revealed ELDC was still waiting for information regarding two key elements of the report:

l Housing supplying projection numbers.

l A county-wide traffic survey.

Coun Leyland said: “I can appreciate there are concerns but the delays are out of our control. Until the document is approved, speculative developers will continue to target the area.

“However, it would be reckless to proceed without all the relevant information.”

Although Coun Leyland admitted ELDC was under pressure to match Government targets for new homes, he pledged residents’ views would always be taken into account.

He added: “We will always listen to people and their views will continue to be taken on board but balancing localism with national targets is a very difficult job.”

Coun Leyland admitted some developments would be unpopular with residents.

He also accepted greater clarity was needed from agencies - like the Environment Agency and the county council’s Highways Department - to explain why they did not object to certain applications.

However, he described failing to accept some new development as ‘not an option’.

He revealed that one headache for ELDC was that significant areas of coastal land could not be used for future housing development - because of flooding issues.

He accepted that meant inland towns would come under pressure to accept more new homes.

Coun Leyland also confirmed that latest Government guidelines were discouraging major developments in what he termed as ‘small villages’.