LETTER: An open letter to the residents of Horncastle

As we all know now, Horncastle has been chosen as one of the five towns to absorb the bulk of the quotas of new build houses in the next 15 years of the Neighbourhood Development Plan. In theory Horncastle will see up to 800 new homes being built over this time.

There is one development coming up for Planning Approval that if passed, will cost each and every homeowner in Horncastle higher house and contents insurance. Let me explain.

The largest single reason for all these proposed new houses being built in the main inland towns of the County, rather than any of the Coastal towns, is all down to the increasing threat of flooding.

So my concern is with a proposed development off Churchill Avenue, for 106 homes on a piece of land that has always been designated as Flood Plain. No one has ever built on it. Not even the Romans. So land that has only ever been classified as fit for Utility Purposes, like football and cricket pitches or agriculture use, has now been reclassified as prime building land, under the new Delegated Powers and Rural Exemption clauses.

This land, at the bottom of the Wolds, at the joining point of two rivers, that looks like the tip of a funnel on a survey map, and has always been wet and prone to flood, is going to be built on. To make matters worse, no provision has been made counter this flood risk. Nothing.

Horncastle has always flooded through the years. If you need a short history of that in the last 100 years, just do an internet search. And it seems that all kinds of flooding incidents are happening more often too. The news is full of them. Even the Environment Agency are warning of a 20% increase in the number of flooding incidents within the next ten years.

The question therefore is not if the land will flood, but when.

And when it does and the claims go in, guess who will have to pay the increase in premiums when our house insurance renewals come in. You and me. The homeowners. Not the council. Not the Planning Department. Not the decision makers who are meant to be looking out for our best interests. Just call your home insurance companies and ask them how it all works. Flooding, over all the other possible accidents to a house, cause the most disruption to lives, and by an enormous margin cost the most to put right. Add these 106 homes to all the other Horncastle homes that will get flooded in time, and watch what that does to our premiums.

So why add 106 more problems to Horncastle.

Any comments or thoughts should go to paul.thompson@e-lindsey.gov.uk

Stephen Lister

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