POLL: Fresh doubts emerge over Cattle Market proposals

ELDC headquarters at Manby
ELDC headquarters at Manby

Fresh doubts have emerged about East Lindsey District Council’s controversial proposal to offload its Cattle Market site in Louth to the private sector for redevelopment.

Even though the authority’s 60 members will be recommended to rubber-stamp the executive board’s sell-off recommendation at a crunch meeting on July 23, they will have no information about the specifications and management arrangements for a replacement facility.

Members will, however, be provided with details of initial costings of options for a replacement site in the appendix of the scrutiny report.

It is even possible that the bill for a replacement market, probably on Fairfield Industrial Estate, could swallow up the majority of any proceeds from the sale to a developer of the existing site.

Coun Daniel Simpson, who has been chairing a scrutiny panel study, told a special meeting of the overview committee: “There are an awful lot of things we won’t know when we are asked to make our decision.”

On the potential cost of a replacement market, he said: “The money soon starts to crank up.”

According to the scrutiny panel’s report, the proposal for an Aswell Street link to safeguard town centre viability is flawed - partly because it is so narrow, and partly because a supermarket operator would probably impose a penalty for any shopper who left its car park for longer than two hours.

“This would mean the time frame for using the linked trip into to town to visit other shops is likely to be limited,” says the document.

It was hoped that ELDC’s leader Coun Doreen Stephenson would agree to give evidence to the scrutiny panel, but the report says she declined to take up two invitations - one at the beginning of the process, and one towards the end.

At the start of the overview committee meeting, Coun Terry Knowles declared a personal interest because he is a customer at The Boar’s Head pub which would be demolished if the Cattle Market site is sold for redevelopment.