A proposed new housing development on the outskirts of Louth has been described as “a suicide situation in the making” by an East Lindsey councillor.
But despite Coun Terry Knowles’ controversial claim, the district planning committee voted 5-3 - with three abstentions to support the outline application by Larkfleet Homes to build 107 homes on a seven-hectare greenfield site off Kenwick Road.
Although most members disliked the scheme, they were recommended by officers to support it because there were no “material planning reasons” for it to be turned down.
In the event of refusal, they would almost certainly have lost any subsequent appeal by Larkfleet, with the prospect of incurring substantial costs.
“I feel very sorry for the people of Louth,” said Coun Pauline Cooper, who represents Croft, near Skegness.
“A charming market town is at risk of being swamped by overdevelopment.
“It’s like piling more and more weight on to a sinking ship.”
Protests - notably about the potential for flooding to nearby homes, were also sounded by Coun Eileen Ballard, representing Louth Town Council and by Coun Jill-Makinson-Sanders.
Their anguish was heeded by Coun Laura Stephenson who feared that a proposed lagoon to collect excessive rainfall would put young children at risk of drowning. “I am incredibly concerned,” she said.
Coun Stuart Watson expressed another objection - the loss of Grade II agricultural land.
A different perspective came from Coun Neil Jones who noted that new houses would provide an economic boost for Louth - with retailers likely to benefit from a larger population and the district council’s coffers set to swell as a result of additional rates income.
Coun Phil Kemp, who proposed approval, agreed that incoming householders could bring wealth to the town, adding that scheme might ease pressure on homelessness.
Earlier, in a three-minute presentation to the committee, Larkfleet’s planning director, Mark Mann, claimed the flooding issues could be addressed successfully.
He said any impact on traffic would be “modest”, adding that his firm was committed to building “high- quality houses that exceeded the expectations of customers”.
Although numerous residents wrote or emailed ELDC to object, none felt sufficiently strongly to attend the 90-minute debate at ELDC’s HQ at Tedder Hall in Manby on Thursday afternoon (January 15).
Before Bourne-based Larkfleet can start work on the project, it will need to submit a further application providing more details about the style of the houses, their layout and how the flooding challenge will be tackled.
The committee noted that the firm has already agreed to make significant financial contributions towards social benefits such as education and a skate park.