Town’s MP admits she is ‘watching’ housing plans

Victoria Atkins MP
Victoria Atkins MP

Horncastle’s MP Victoria Atkins has admitted she is “carefully watching” plans that could see more than 1,000 new homes built in the town.

The News revealed last week that almost 600 new dwellings have already been given the 
go-ahead by East Lindsey District Council.

In addition, plans for more than 800 homes - including 500 in a proposed development by Crowders - are in the pipeline.

That has led to town councillors and residents expressing fears about the impact on local frontline services - particularly schools, roads and health. Flooding is another issue.

Ms Atkins told The News: “I have met a number of constituents and councillors regarding development plans overall for Horncastle.

“Constituents have raised concerns about the impact on roads, schools and access to doctors in particular.

“I will be watching the situation carefully.”

Town councillors are pressing for Section 106 agreements to be put in place along with approval for any major housing schemes.

The agreements effectively tie builders and developers to provide funding for services.

Already, Lincolnshire County Council has said that if the Crowders scheme does go ahead, they would want money for a new primary school .

In addition, funding would also be required to improve facilities at Banovallum School - along with a six figure investment in boosting the town’s only doctor’s practice.

There have been allegations that the town has previously missed out on vital funding - because Section 106 agreements were either not applied for, or not enforced when some developments were built.

The Town Council’s planning committee has called on all relevant agencies to apply for Section 106 funding.

Councillors are also hoping to hold a meeting with ELDC to discuss Section 106 money - and the entire planning process..

Mayor Angela Birchall says the Town Council is not against Horncastle expanding but says developments must be ‘right’ for the town.

She added: “We accept that Horncastle needs to grow and would welcome some new housing.

“However, when you look at the figures involved, there are real concerns about how the town will cope.

“If all these new homes are built, where will people work? Where will children go to school? How will you get an appointment at the doctors? It is difficult enough now.

“The impact on roads - and the town’s drainage - is also a worry. “

ELDC will produce a Local Plan which will identify sites for developments - and the number of new homes that can be built in towns and villages.

However, ELDC admits that plan might not be completed for another 12 months.

That has led to criticism from former town councillor Richard Barker who says the on-going delays leave the ‘door wide’ open for developers.

He added: “I said a year ago that there could be more than 1,200 new homes built 
in Horncastle.

“I was told then I was inflating the figures but look at what has happened. Even more applications are pending.”

l A second public meeting about the Crowders application will be held at Stanhope Hall next Monday (July 6) at 6pm.