Council calls on MP to help over Section 106 funding

Victoria Atkins (Conservative)  Louth and Horncastle Constituency EMN-161201-093407001
Victoria Atkins (Conservative) Louth and Horncastle Constituency EMN-161201-093407001

Councillors in Horncastle are hoping the town’s MP will intervene in a problem which could be costing communities across the East Midlands millions of pounds.

Horncastle Town Council has confirmed it understands the NHS is now only seeking financial contributions from developments of more than 50 homes.

It follows claims by a local campaign group fighting plans for 500 homes in the town that the move represents a major shift in policy by the NHS.

Previously, applications for Section 106 money - paid by developers to improve local services - were often attached as conditions to developments of less than 50 dwellings.

Campaigners point out three developments of 40 homes could have a bigger impact on local infrastructures than a single estate of 100 houses.

The situation has been highlighted after the NHS failed to make an application for funding on a bid for 38 dwellings on Langton Hill.

Officials from Lincolnshire County Council asked for a contribution of more than £200,000 from the developers to boost education in Horncastle.

Stuart Attwood, chairman of the campaign group battling plans by Crowders for 500 homes off Lincoln Road, claims the NHS policy means many towns are now missing out on vital revenue.

The town council has written to the NHS, raising its concerns. Clerk Gillian Mauger also confirmed the letter had been sent to MP Victoria Atkins and the relevant planning officer at ELDC who deals with Section 106 agreements.

Mrs Mauger said the NHS had still to respond.

She revealed that at last week’s town council planning committee meeting a member of the public said he had contacted Ms Atkins who had promised to raise the matter with the NHS.

Mrs Mauger added she had received an email from the Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils (LALC) stating that general guidance suggested that the minimum number of houses considered for 106 agreements was 10 - and not 50.

New housing developments can put significant pressure on local services - particularly in Horncastle where the town’s only medical practice has previously raised concerns about the impact an increase in the number of patients on its books would have.