POLL: Louth’s 970-home ‘Southern Gateway’ plans rise from the ashes

The outline of the 'Southern Gateway' housing plans.
The outline of the 'Southern Gateway' housing plans.

A controversial housing proposal, which could see 970 homes built in Louth, has been delayed and will not be decided this week as planned.

ELDC’s Planning Committee was due to decide whether to grant outline planning permission to the resubmitted proposal at their meeting tomorrow, Thursday, but on Monday it was decided that the decision would be postponed until a later date.

This is in order to allow the applicant to undertake further work on the Environment Statement, which accompanies the planning application.

The overall plans are essentially identical to the so-called ‘Southern Gateway’ scheme which was rejected by the Planning Committee at the outline stage just five months ago.

The plans include up to 970 homes including affordable housing, a local community hub including community hall, retail and office space, a primary school, public open space, structural landscaping and the provision of vehicular, cycle and pedestrian access, car and cycle parking, and facilities for public transport.

Back in March, committee members unanimously voted against granting outline permission for the original plans, going against the recommendations in favour of the development that came from ELDC Planning Officers.

Despite the resubmitted plans being due to face the Planning Committee tomorrow, an appeal process against the decision to reject the original plan is also currently underway.

An executive summary of the situation, which has been presented to members of the Planning Committee, states that the previous proposal was rejected for two main reasons; landscape impact and affordable housing provision.

The executive summary states: “Since that decision, the appellants have agreed to provide 30 per cent affordable housing, in line with our emerging policy.

“The sole remaining issue at the appeal is, therefore, landscape impact.”

The executive summary later adds: “Each time the issues are narrowed down it is important that a weighing exercise is undertaken to assess whether any harm that remains is outweighed by the national imperative for additional homes, and the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

“The very firm guidance in this report is that the balance has strongly tipped in favour of the grant of this development, and that it would be extremely difficult to justify a refusal of permission.”

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