Louth Town Council has voted in support of an application to build four bungalows on the former playing fields at the Julian Bower site.
The narrow vote (eight in favour and six against) came despite some councillors voicing concerns about the ‘uncertainty’ over the site’s possible archeological value, at a Town Council planning committee meeting on August 23.
Coun George Horton said: “There’s so much uncertainty about this, and I don’t think you can approve things unless there is a definite.
“I cannot support this, because I would not be happy if this development went ahead and then we found there was some archeological interest and we’d destroyed it.”
Coun Horton said that the town council should not support the application unless they are ‘100 per cent certain’ that there is no archeological interest in the site.
In the public forum prior to the committee meeting, campaigner Prisca Furlong pleaded with councillors to ‘consider all the evidence’ that had been submitted, including a recent report by Dr Kevin Hayward which said that the site ‘could not be ruled out’ as a site of potential archeological interest.
Prisca added that a group of philanthropists are keen to purchase the site for community use, although this was not discussed at any great length during the planning committee meeting as it was not a planning-related matter.
As previously reported, the owners of the site - the King Edward VI School Trust - are due to consider the philanthropists’ expression of interest at their upcoming meeting later this month.
Later in the planning committee meeting, Coun Andrew Leonard said that there was ‘very little reason’ to refuse the application.
This was echoed by Coun Dan Turner, who said that, as the application stands, there would be no justified reason to oppose it under current planning law.
Coun Jason Garrett said that the town council should object to the application ‘until we get clarification on what is on the site, following an independent survey’, and Coun Chris Green agreed - but the council ultimately voted in support of the application.
The town council is a formal consultee for planning applications in the town, and their views will now be put forward to ELDC’s planning committee, which will make the decision on whether or not to grant planning permission at a future meeting.
The town council’s meeting came just days after a British Council for Archeology representative said ‘it would seem that there is historical and archeological evidence to suggest that the platform is indeed ancient’, adding that further tests ought to take place to determine the true significance of the site.
However, a representative from Lincs Design Consultancy Ltd, which is dealing with the application, responded that there is no evidence - just speculation - that the site could be ancient, and that they have support from other official bodies, including Historic England.
Visit ELDC’s website to view all correspondence relating to the application.
• Prisca Furlong’s new book, ‘From Pagan Stone to Soaring Spire’, is now on sale for £20, and all profits will go to the ‘Walk To Discover’ charitable organisation to support archeological exploration in the area.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the ‘Julian Bower Louth Historic Site’ Facebook page to buy a copy.