The Mayor of Louth, Councillor Andrew Leonard, has said that he is “very disappointed with the result” following last week’s decision by East Lindsey District Council to sell the Cattle Market site.
Louth Town Council will decide its response to ELDC’s decision at its next meeting.
Coun Leonard also said that he believes members of the Labour and Conservative groups were ‘whipped’ into supporting the sale, and said: “It was a foregone conclusion.”
He added: “They won’t do it without a deal being struck. It’s the same as Westminster politics - there are always backs being scratched.”
Labour Chief Whip, Coun Sarah Dodds, categorically denied that the whip was used, and said: “We had a pre-meeting on the day and voted not to take the whip.
“This was a vote of conscience, and the whip did not seem appropriate or needed.
Coun Dodds added that her group did have a discussion with the Executive Board about what would happen to the funds that ELDC would receive if the sale were to go ahead, such as whether it would go towards social housing and playground equipment rather than in a bank reserve, but reiterated that no deal or agreement was made and that Labour councillors were free to vote as they wished.
Conservative Group leader Coun Doreen Stephenson also played down the suggestion that any deal or agreement had been made.
She said: “All 60 Councillors had the opportunity to vote on the Livestock Market site debate at the Council Meeting. The issue was debated by all parties and the vote taken agreed a sale of the site subject to contract and planning consent.
“No deal was struck between any of the Groups, and no party voted in its entirety to support the sale of the site. The vote was recorded, and as such the way in which Councillors voted on the item is a matter of public record.”
Coun Stephenson added: “We already know there is significant interest from supermarket operators in coming to Louth. When the site was marketed, every single bid received included a supermarket. Not agreeing to sell the site would have most likely resulted in the supermarkets that are interested in Louth submitting planning applications for the Industrial Estate.
“An out of town supermarket is something that I personally firmly believe would be much more harmful to the businesses of Louth.”