LETTER: What’s the worth in Horncastle Town plan

The Horncastle News March 25 2015 featured the Chairman of the Town Council Planning Committee expressing concerns regarding the proposed Lindum Homes suggestions for more houses on two sites north of Thunkers Drain.

This is in addition to 23 houses approved off Wesley Way and the 125 house approved last month for the Mareham Road site.

Once again the lack of robust challenge in the draft Neighbourhood Plan leaves the Town wide open to further expansion.

Several Town Councillors and District Ward Councillors have expressed again the lack of capacity of drainage systems, roads, and transport facilities and the overburden on the medical, educational and policing services and other emergency service pressures.

Add this to the overload on gas, water and electric infrastructure and telecom needs then one cannot support this unchecked expansion.

The Neighbourhood Plan takes no action to ensure challenge and protection of the Town in these critical areas, and this sad indictment is compounded by Mr Aron supporting the Neighbourhood Plan, as written and in his capacity as a Town Council member of the Working Group , whilst expressing his concern at the same time. He has a serious conflict of interest but does nothing to address this.

Once again Mr Aron shows a lack of real concern for the Town and is happy to create photo opportunities to boost his flagging political credibility, when he should be pushing for the Neighbourhood Plan to be expanded to deal with these serious shortfalls and ill conceived policies which do nothing to protect the Town.

The same criticisms apply to the other 2 Town Councillors, Cllrs Williams and Roark, on the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, who seem incapable of addressing this failing.

We have already lost vital funding through the incompetence of organisations who failed to apply for financial contributions on schemes now approved.

The Neighbourhood Plan, as written and to be submitted to ELDC, will mean opportunities to charge developers for improving infrastructure and service will go unchallenged as will developments that show no respect for the natural and historical policies of the Town’s balanced expansion.

ELDC have after 4 years, still not defined the annual housing numbers for Horncastle and the District and these could be another 2 years away.

This is NOT a reason not to use the Neighbourhood Development Plan to allocate planning zoning and land use to protect the Town and clearly show where expansion should Not be allowed.

If it means a delay of 6 to 9 months for the Plan to be ratified this has to be right in terms of its 15 year lifespan.

Richard Barker, RIBA.