Fears that a ‘Cumbria-type flooding disaster’ could occur in the leafy village of Fotherby were sounded at an East Lindsey planning meeting last Thursday (December 10).
Patsy Clark, a Fotherby resident for the past 20 years, warned that parts of Peppin Lane were already prone to flash flooding, and outline proposals for five additional dwellings on a cereal field opposite The Rectory would only make the situation worse.
In a fiery three-minute presentation, Mrs Clark further claimed that to allow the development would be a “gross intrusion” into open countryside and would bring streetlight pollution and traffic congestion on a narrow and poorly-maintained stretch of road.
She went on to protest that an ecological appraisal commissioned in support of the application was flawed - not least because it overlooked the all-year presence of water voles, a mammal that enjoys legal protection because of its relative rarity in the UK.
Mrs Clark said: “Why should it be acceptable for this colony to be written off at the stroke of a pen?”
Her observations found approval from ward representative Coun David Buckley, who described the site as “a local flooding hotspot”.
However, a contrasting perspective came from Andrew Clover, associate director of Lincs Design Consultancy Ltd, which submitted the proposal on behalf of applicant, farmer Mick Brader.
He maintained that the site was outside the flood zone and a strategy would be devised to cope with any excess surface water.
The consultant said this part of Peppin Lane would be upgraded as part of the project and that a further five homes would “enhance the vitality of the village”.
The ecological appraisal was carried out by Christopher Barker, of Navenby, who described the site as being of “low ecological value as the result of regular herbicide and fertiliser applications”.
He concluded: “The potential for protected species is considered to be very low, and the site offers little potential for birds due to its intensive arable regime and the proximity to houses and a main road.”
Coun Terry Aldridge said: “Such a development would spoil the aspect of the village.
“It would also open the door to further development.”
Ultimately, Mrs Clark’s presentation won the day, as the committee went against the recommendation of planning case officer Andy Booth and overwhelmingly refused to grant planning consent.
It is not currently known if the applicant will appeal.