Woodhall Spa parish council refuses to back housing ‘ban’

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Parish councillors have reiterated their concerns about the ‘rapid expansion’ of Woodhall Spa but have stopped short of supporting calls for a ban on new homes to south of the village.

Proposals for around 300 new homes between Woodhall and Kirkstead were unveiled recently.

At this month’s parish council meeting, it emerged Woodhall’s two district councillors - Craig Leyland and Susanna Gorst - were opposed to any development to the south of the village.

However, parish councillors say it is important to respond to each application on its merits, rather than pressing for a blanket ban on a particular area.

In a statement, the parish council said: “WSPC is concerned at the rapid expansion of the village.

“The WSPC urges land owners, developers and land agents to work together with the WSPC and ELDC to ensure that firstly, any development is on existing available sites and secondly development does nothing to undermine the key characteristics of the village as expressed in the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan.

“WSPC will treat each application on its merits but would recommend that the applicant demonstrate benefit to the community that would accrue from the proposed development.”

Parish council chairman David Clarke explained a major problem with an ‘area ban’ was specific applications may well have some benefits for Woodhall.

There is mounting concern about the number of developments in Woodhall. In addition to proposals for the south of the village, there is a scheme for 300 homes off Witham Road.

The parish council’s objections to Witham Road are well documented but any further opposition has been put on hold until reports from Lincolnshire County Council’s Highways’ department.

The fact the parish council has previously met developers has led to criticism although they have been cleared of any wrong doing by ELDC’s monitoring officer. The parish council has also issued a series of guidelines that will be applied to any future meetings with developers and land owners. The council has defended the right to hold meetings in private.

The guidelines include:

l Notes will be comprehensive covering all points raised by both sides but not a verbatim report.

l The developer/land owner/land agent will be informed at start of the meeting that information given will be in the public domain, unless it is of a confidential nature.

l Confidential information will be recorded in separate notes and released into the public domain as soon as possible.

l The decision to support or object to any development will be made at a parish council meeting in response to the ELDC consultation notice.