Horncastle Town Council demands clarity over planning conditions

Planning application stock image.
Planning application stock image.

Town councillors in Horncastle have written to East Lindsey District Council in a bid to clarify the legal standing of planning conditions.

Conditions are put in place when applications are decided to effectively control various stages of any developments.

The conditions cover a range of issues - from drainage and access to sites through to working hours.

Often, they state construction work cannot take place until conditions have been met.

As the News revealed last week, there is growing concern about conditions attached to a controversial 300-home development at Langton Hill in Horncastle.

Initially, the scheme was rejected by ELDC but that decision was over-turned on appeal by a Government appointed inspector.

The inspector attached more than 20 conditions to his decision - including provision for improvements to nearby roads and the erection of two new bus shelters.

However, at this month’s town council meeting, it emerged the bus shelters might not be built.

Councillors were also told work on the new homes had started - in direct opposition to one of the conditions which clearly stated construction could not commence, until improvements had been carried out to the junction of Langton Hill 
and the A158.

Town council chairman and mayor Brian Burbidge said he believed a number of planning conditions were not being met.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson said if that was the case, ELDC should take enforcement action against the developers (Cyden Homes).

He said: “What is the point in having all these conditions in place if developers are simply going to ignore them?

“East Lindsey needs to do something about this. It’s ridiculous.”

Coun Wilkinson said one of the conditions clearly stated construction could not start, until the junction improvements were agreed.

Town resident Andrew Neal said he had written to ELDC about the situation.

He revealed he had received a reply which suggested planning conditions were not legally enforceable and could be changed, with approval from planners.

Town and district councillor Fiona Martin said if that was the case, it could have serious implications for developments across the country.

Coun Burbidge added: “Basically, we are being told these conditions are not written in stone.

“They might not be legally enforceable.”

Councillors unanimously supported a proposal that they should write to ELDC, asking for clarity on the situation.