A DRAMATIC council u-turn has seen Lindum given the go-ahead for their development plan for Mablethorpe.
East Lindsey District Council’s planning committee voted last Thursday to approve the £50million scheme which includes 180 new homes, a supermarket, pub, petrol station and care home off Golf Road.
The council agreed to hear the application again after the developer claimed there were ‘procedural irregularities’ at December’s hearing and legal advisor Stuart Tyms advised councillors to forget the previous and ‘rehear the application afresh’.
Opening, opposition leader Kim Parrinder said the town centre was ‘extremely vulnerable’ to the edge of town development which ‘would have an adverse effect’ on small businesses and that 15,000 lorries would be needed for construction work, having a ‘devastating effect’ on the local road network.
But the chairman of a local action group behind Lindum, Steph Carruthers, said the project was the ‘perfect opportunity that would provide opportunities for youngsters’.
Two of the town’s Labour councillors, Tony Howard and Paddy Prince, were allowed to address the meeting.
Coun Howard claimed the town ‘had a majority of five to one in favour of the scheme’ and ‘needed the housing and economic development the project would bring’.
The former said the opposition group had ‘tried to divide a community and showed ‘NIMBY-ism’ in its clearest form’.
Coun Phil Kemp, who voted to refuse the scheme in December claiming an ‘inappropriate location and grave potential consequences’ said it was impossible to find grounds not to approve it this time around.
One member of the public then began repeatedly shouting ‘I’m a victim of social housing’. The meeting’s chairman, Coun Clive Blacklock, ordered the councillors to adjourn while the woman was asked to leave, urging them to disregard the outburst.
When the debate restarted, Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders said Lindum was a ‘far sighted company who could make a difference to Mablethorpe’, proposing a motion to support the development.
But a motion to reject the scheme was proposed by Coun Jean Bradley, who said the supermarket would damage the ‘vitality and viability of the town centre’.
“It all looks very wonderful,” she said, “But I’m so concerned that Mablethorpe’s town centre stays alive and well.”
Coun Andrew Ferryman of Sutton on Sea seconded the refusal. He said he ‘found it difficult to forget December’s meeting’ and ‘could not be responsible for putting already struggling town centre businesses at risk’. He added that he hoped aspirations ‘would be higher than working part-time in a supermarket’.
Coun Steve O’Dare pointed to the Mablethorpe and Sutton Chamber of Trade’s support of the plans, but Coun Ferryman retorted that the support of the application was not the ‘unilateral view of local businesses’.
Coun O’Dare said the flood risk on the east coast was in his opinion ‘exaggerated’ and was causing a lack of development in the town and, along with Coun Sidney Dennis, voted to approve.
The application may now be called in by the Secretary of State for further approval.
Afterwards, Lindum’s managing director Paul McSorley, said he felt it was ‘a very balanced meeting’ and he was ‘reassured that common sense had prevailed’.
“Clearly the voice of the majority has spoken,” he added.
The chairman of action group MAGLIN (Mablethorpe Action Group for Support of Lindum), Steph Carruthers, (pictured) said the Lindum verdict was ‘the right decision for the town’.
“We’re really pleased with the decision,” she said. “I think it was the right decision.
“The councillors saw that there are people that wanted this and they’ve listened to what we had to say.
“It’s the beginning of the future for Mablethorpe and fantastic news for the youth, for the old people, and for everyone in the town.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Mablethorpe regenerated.”
But local resident Phil Collins warned: “A lot of people are going to live to regret this.
“In seven years we’ll have no tourist industry left whatsoever.”
Fellow opposer Kim Parrinder said: “I’m very surprised there’s been such a turnaround.
“But this is not final, I look forward to the Secretary of State having a look at it.”
What do you think? Was the right decision made on the day? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.