Louth Town Councillors have voted to oppose plans to provide a temporary fire station in the Riverhead Connect Resource Centre, submitted by Lincolnshire County Council.
If successful, the proposal would see the building in Victoria Road being used for 12 months to provide a temporary fire appliance garage, in addition to offices and accommodation.
Members of Louth Town Council, however, voiced their concerns that the road would not be wide enough for fire engines to drive down rapidly in the case of an emergency, and would be too close to the busy Louth Playgoers Riverhead Theatre.
Councillor David Hall said: “That road is not going to be big enough to get those vehicles out quickly. Also, these vehicles are going to have to reverse down that very narrow road, round the corner, and I really can’t see this being suitable - it should really go somewhere else.
“What happens if there’s a play going on at Playgoers? They would get locked in automatically. There is no way that we can support this.”
Councillor Margaret Ottaway added: “I cannot believe that they think that they can get a fire engine up there.”
Councillor Andrew Leonard defended the LCC’s proposal, saying: “At the end of the day, this is the Lincolnshire County Council application. They’ve hardly just gone on a whim, they must have done their research, they must have done the exploratories for this. Otherwise they wouldn’t have put in the application.”
Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said that she “totally disagreed” with Coun Leonard, adding: “It is a dangerous spot. Playgoers use the site almost seven days a week now.
“They’re going to be taking fire engines across a footpath where hundreds of children go up and down every day to get to Eastfield school and Lacey Gardens school. It is too narrow, it’s just too dangerous. The County Council must go back and find another site - put it on the industrial estate, I’m sure somebody will hire them out a building for 12 months.
“This is just awful, I can’t even being to think how dangerous it would be.”
Councillor George Horton added: “I can’t see this working, it’s a very dangerous situation. I’m surprise that the County Council have gone for this - you’d have thought they’d have done their homework”, after which the Town Council formally voted to object to the plans.
On Wednesday May 7, Anne Cant (Senior Planning Officer at Lincolnshire County Council) told the Louth Leader: “We haven’t received any formal comments from the town council yet, but if we did receive an objection we would of course fully investigate the concerns that were raised.
“Community involvement in planning applications is very important, and every comment that’s submitted to us is considered before any decision is reached.”
Sean Taylor, group manager resources at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, also commented on the matter. He said: “Whilst we rebuild the fire station on the current site in Louth, we still have a responsibility to maintain the high level of response and protection to local residents in the event of emergencies. We feel that the site situated just off Victoria Road provides an excellent temporary solution to allow us to respond to incidents quickly and effectively during this time.
“If we are successful with the planning application, we will be working very closely with local residents and will invite them to attend a meeting, where we can discuss any issues and hopefully resolve any concerns.
“We aim to be in the temporary fire station from July 2014 until the new site opens in April 2015.”