Chairman quits planning Horncastle body

In charge: town councillor Rose Williams who has taken over as the new chairman of the NDP's steering group
In charge: town councillor Rose Williams who has taken over as the new chairman of the NDP's steering group

The chairman of Horncastle’s Neighbourhood Development Plan project has resigned as the row continues about its validity.

Dr Rod Sambrook led a steering group which formulated the plan but insists his resignation has nothing to do with the on-going furore about the document.

Supporters say the plan is a vital document that will help shape the future of the town and restrict development

Critics have labelled it as a waste of council taxpayers money because it does not identify specific development sites, leaving the way open for massive new housing schemes.

The plan - which is backed the Town Council - has now been submitted to East Lindsey District Council for a six week public consultation period.

It will then by scrutinised by an independent expert before going on to a final referendum.

In a statement, Dr Sambrook said: “I believe the task of the steering group is now complete.

“Although several members of the steering group want to continue to be involved until the referendum, I have always made it clear that I would stand down as chairman as soon as the final document went to ELDC.

“I would like to thank all the steering group for their hard work in producing the plan.”

Town councillor Rose Williams will takeover as chairman. The steering group will also include another town councillor, David Roark, who paid tribute to the work of the outgoing chairman.

He said: “Rod has worked really hard and now deserves time with his family.”

Town and county councillor Bill Aron said he was delighted the plan had been sent to ELDC and revealed the referendum could be held in September.

However, Coun Aron was involved in an angry exchange with Richard Barker, a long time critic of the plan, at a Town Council meeting last week.

Mr Barker says the plan is worthless because it is not site specific.

He also criticised ELDC for on-going delays producing a district-wide local plan which will include recommended figures for new housing in all town and villages.

Mr Barker said the delays –combined with shortcomings in the town plan – meant Horncastle was ‘under siege’ from developers with proposals for more than 1,000 new homes currently on the table.

Mr Barker called for the town plan to be completely revamped.

He also described Coun Aron’s excuses for the on-going delays in the district plan as ‘rubbish’.