Local views ‘being ignored’ by ELDC

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MAJOR developments which totally transform the character of their surroundings are being foisted on local communities without considering their views, several parish councils claim.

Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils’s former chief executive Richard Endeby claims many parish councils are growing increasingly frustrated with East Lindsey District Council’s planning decisions.

He believes the planning authority is ‘ploughing ahead with its own agenda’ and discounting legitimately held objections raised by parish councils in their role as consultees.

“A lot of parish councils are not happy with their relationship with the district council and feel they are being fobbed off with lip-service to their objections,” he said.

“What’s the point of having a parish council when the district council doesn’t support it, rides roughshod over it and takes no notice of its planning recommendations?”

As chairman of Hogsthorpe Parish Council he and his fellow councillors were disappointed by ELDC’s recent approval of an application to extend a touring caravan park in the village.

Although the council claims to be supportive of developments which would help the village to flourish, it is keen to retain its rural character and is strongly opposed to developments which would amalgamate it with nearby tourist destination Chapel St Leonards.

Despite forming a ‘professional submission’ based on material planning considerations, the final decision went against the parish council’s recommendations.

Coun Enderby believes the district council is biased towards tourism based applications as it views that as being East Lindsey’s key industry. Spilsby Town Council has expressed its own dissatisfaction with planning decisions being made against its recommendations.

Speaking at its latest meeting on Thursday Coun Winston Baugh said: “It seems like a deliberate ploy on East Lindsey’s part that they are ignoring us.”

A decision to only send architectural plans to parish councils electronically was also a cause for concern among many councillors who felt they would be unable to provide a well formed recommendation unless the council purchased an A1 printer to display the plans.

Coun Jim Swanson explained that several other parish councils had raised similar complaints to him in his role as a county councillor.

A spokesperson for ELDC said: “The District Council has reviewed its online planning system to make it more efficient and accessible for parish councils and those wishing to comment on planning applications. The recommendation of parish councils and views of local people when considering planning applications are important and the new system gives access to a greater level of information than before.”