The 17 September 2014 saw the start of one of the most important Planning Appeals that Horncastle has had in the last 15 plus years. It related to the Langton Housing scheme for 300 houses.
What continues to amaze me is that the only representatives from the Town Council, ELDC and LCC were the Mayor Cllr Campbell Wardman and Cllr Stuart Attwood the newest member of the Town Council’s Planning Committee.
The Mayor attended on the first morning, to read a short statement and Cllr Attwood attended most days, to observe.
Short presentations by the Civic Society, The Langton Hill Action Group, Dr David Lawrence, Dr Sambrook of the Neighbourhood Plan and myself, as the former Planning Chairman who dealt with the original application from Gladman’s, at least brought the Towns concerns to the attention of the Inspector.
Perhaps the Town should take note that no other Town Councillors attended any of the sessions of which there were 10. Cllr Martin, a member of ELDC’s Planning Committee did not attend, neither did the Town Councils Planning Chairman Cllr Aron.
The date for this appeal was well advertised, so some effort could have been made to at least turn up for the final closing speeches on the afternoon of Wednesday 24 September.
So much for the Town Council showing any interest in such an important appeal.
It is my professional opinion that if the appeal is upheld, and outline permission is granted, it will open the floodgates for Applications like Mareham Road and Wesley Way to be approved, possibly at appeal, along with others that could be in the pipeline.
If this is the case then Horncastle have only ELDC to blame for their failure to deliver housing supply figures and relevant policies to replace some that are over 15 years out of date. The Town Council also have to take responsibly for their lack of interest in the appeal for which there can be no excuses.
The barrister representing ELDC and the Planning Officer, Mr Loveday did a reasonable job from a very weak position.
We can only hope that the Planning Inspector, who was very astute and had read in detail the cases for both sides, reaches a decision to dismiss the appeal.
Richard Barker RIBA,
former Town Council Planning Chair and supporter of the Langton Action Group.