‘We have not wasted thousands of pounds’ on Neighbourhood plan says Horncastle Town Council

Town councillors are among the people who attended a public session about the NDP
Town councillors are among the people who attended a public session about the NDP

Horncastle Town Council has denied claims it has wasted thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a key planning document.

Critics claim the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan - which has cost almost £43,000 - is flawed because it does not identify specific sites for development.

They claim it will never be adopted and as a result, is not worth the paper it is written on.

But the council - which has directly contributed around £35,000 in funding - has denied the claims.

It insists the plan is legal and will be adopted as a key policy document.

All Neighbourhood Development Plans have to go through a public consultation process before being approved by District Council and ratified by a Government inspector.

At a meeting of the council’s planning committee last week, resident Andrew Neal said the plan was “critically flawed.”

He claimed a steering committee had made a major error by not including development sites.

Mr Neal said the plan would not be approved by East Lindsey District Council or accepted by the Government. He pointed out the plan had already failed in regard to decisions on new housing developments at Langton Hill and Mareham Road.

Mr Neal accepted it was difficult for the steering committee to finalise the document because ELDC has still to supply future housing supply figures for the town.

He said: “Site allocation is part and parcel of national planning policy. Our plan is critically flawed and will never get passed an inspector. It will be sad reflection on this town when it is thrown back in our face.”

Mr Neal was supported by former town councillor Richard Barker, who described the plan as a “cop out.”

It later emerged Mr Neal had served on the steering committee when it was intended for the plan to be site specific.

Coun Rose Williams, a member of the steering committee, denied the plan was a waste of money and insisted consultants had assured the council that it was legal and met all requirements.

She said: “It will be adopted as a legal document.”

Town clerk Gillian Mauger also supplied a letter which showed similar neighbourhood plans in other areas of the country have been approved.