Housing ‘blueprint’ is on hold for 12 months

Langton Hill EMN-141109-144543001
Langton Hill EMN-141109-144543001

A key planning document, which will effectively control future housing development throughout East Lindsey, is unlikely to come into force for at least another 12 months.

East Lindsey District Council has confirmed it does not expect to submit it’s draft Local Plan for Government approval until next year.

Key elements of the plan will include indentifying sites for housing developments and the minimum number of homes to be built in towns and large villages over the next 15 years.

Once adopted, the plan will make it increasingly difficult for developers to build on none-specified sites.

There have been accusations delays in producing the plan have left the door open for developers to submit a raft of applications.

In Horncastle, fox example, permission has already been given for 596 new homes since 2013 with at least an additional 868 in the pipeline.

Those figures include 300 new homes which have outline approval on Langton Hill and a bid by Crowders to build 500 dwellings off Lincoln Road.

However, ELDC has launched a strong defence of its policy and says submitting a rushed and flawed plan could leave council taxpayers footing a bill running into millions of pounds.

ELDC’s new planning committee chairman Coun Richard Fry said: “I fully understand the vexation, anger and frustration about the situation.

“As a council, we share those views.

“Completing the draft plan is a priority but it is a complicated process.

“Sites for housing and housing numbers are only part of the whole process.

“We are making progress but there is still a lot of work to do.

“If we submitted a draft now, it would be flawed and would no doubt rejected by an inspector.

“We would be back to square one and have to start the process all over again.

“It is vital we get it exactly right and if that takes time then so be it.”

Coun Fry was backed by ELDC’s Planning Policy manager Anne Shorland who is a key figure in drawing up the draft document.

She confirmed ELDC is still waiting for consultants to supply all-important housing supply numbers for individual towns and villages.

The draft plan will need to go though a rigorous public consultation process before a Government appointed inspector has the final say.

Ms Shorland revealed it could take’months’ for a decision with the costs often running at £900-a-day during the decision-making process.

She also hit back at suggestions the draft plan had already been rejected twice.

She said as part of the process, councils can ask an independent inspector to check various details.

Ms Shorland confirmed on two occasions, ELDC had been advised to revise housing supply numbers - which were too low - and plans to provide accommodation for Gypsies and travellers.