The leader of East Lindsey District Council has shrugged off criticism about the authority’s impending move to Horncastle in a multi-million pound re-development project.
Coun Craig Leyland says the £8m-plus plans for a new ELDC headquarters, public sector hub and a further education college at Mareham Road will provide a ‘huge boost’ for Horncastle’s economy.
His comments come after some town councillors attacked the move, describing the project as a ‘white elephant’ and Horncastle as a ‘backwater’.
Locally, there are concerns about an increase in traffic on an already ‘under pressure’ road network.
Grant Edgar, headteacher at Banovallum School which is accessed via Mareham Road, says he shares those concerns and is calling for traffic management measures and improved signage on to ‘reduce the risk of accidents to students.’
In an exclusive interview, Coun Leyland stresses there will be no U-turn and pledges any impact on the road network will be ‘addressed’ as a key element of the planning process.
• A planning application could be submitted next month;
• A full traffic impact assessment will be carried out;
• A partnership with Boston College will provide much needed further education facilities;
• The project will be ‘cost neutral’ thanks to the sale of Tedder Hall and Skegness Town Hall which both require multi million pound maintenance projects over the coming years;
Coun Leyland said: “The District Council expects to be in a position to submit a planning application in March.
“Detailed reports to support the application are currently being compiled and this includes a traffic impact assessment, which is being developed with Lincolnshire County Council.
“We’re very aware that any potential impact on the road network is something that will need to be addressed as part of the planning process.”
Coun Leyland added that now Boston College was confirmed a ‘key partner’ in the new public sector hub, discussions were taking place with a number of other organisations about moving to the facility.
He did not reveal any details but sources indicate it could become ‘home’ to emergency services and the NHS.
Coun Leyland said: “The college section of the hub will include four state-of-the-art classrooms, equipped with the latest technology, as well as a social space for learners and an office space for staff.
“The first courses would start in September 2021 and preparations are already underway with the curriculum offer currently being planned by Boston College – a process that will include consultation with the local community and employers to ensure that proposed courses will meet local skills needs.”
Regarding finance, he added: “The project will be cost neutral, factoring in the sale/redevelopment of Tedder Hall and Skegness Town Hall, which both have multi-million pound maintenance requirements over the coming years.
“Basically, if we weren’t spending the money on the new development, we’d be spending it running these two sites.
“Both sites (Tedder Hall and Skegness Town Hall) provide redevelopment opportunities that would benefit both communities.
“As well as the hub enabling us to provide better services to our communities through improved partnership working and bringing much needed further educational facilities to the area, the workforce being located in Horncastle will provide a huge boost to the economy of Horncastle.”
Town councillors and residents have expressed concerns about the development, particularly in regard to traffic.
Mr Edgar said: “We (the school) would support traffic management measures and improved signage on Mareham Road to reduce the risk of accidents involving our students Traffic will only increase.”