Louth’s Ayscough Hall is saved after councillors refuse plan for new homes

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A much-used community hall in Louth will not be demolished to make way for new homes - after the plans were thrown out by ELDC’s planning committee this week.

Asycough Hall in Lee Street could have been demolished to make way for four new homes, despite objections from hall users, councillors, and neighbouring residents.

However, the application - submitted by the Ayscough Hall Trust - had previously been recommended for refusal by an ELDC planning officer, and the planning committee agreed to throw out the plans at their meeting yesterday (Thursday).

Their reasoning was primarily based on the fact that official guidelines advise local authorities ‘to plan positively for the provision of community facilities’, and should ‘guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services’.

A document summarising the committee’s decision states: “In this case, the proposal would result in the loss of a community hall and insufficient evidence has been submitted to show that the community hall is not necessary in the long term, is not viable in the long term, and cannot be sold as a going concern or that there is an accessible replacement in the vicinity.

“It is therefore considered that the proposal would result in the loss of a community facility, which would be contrary to Policy CF2 of the Council’s Local Plan and paragraphs 28 and 70 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)”.

The application had earlier been ‘called in’ to the planning committee by Coun Sarah Dodds, who had raised concerns over the loss of a community facility at a time when the town’s secondary schools had apparently ‘stopped the use of school buildings for community use’.

Louth Town Council has objected to the plans, partly due to weight of objection from neighbouring residents and partly due to pressures on nearby car parking.

Residents had raised concerns regarding the loss of the community facility - which is used for fitness, dance, and martial arts classes to name a few - in addition to concerns about the proposed homes overlooking existing nearby properties, causing a potential loss of light and privacy.

• Read the full story in next week’s Louth Leader (April 11).