Call for better planning
POST BREXIT BUILD
Views are being sought on the finishing touches of the Local Plan for Central Lincolnshire with replies due by March 6th. This is the set of rules against which every planning application will be compared to pass or fail from now until 2036.
Large tracts of greenfield agricultural land is given over to concrete to house a proposed 68,000 more people in Central Lincolnshire. That is Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey. Land for possible industry, more traveller sites and some green space. South-east Lincolnshire is next. South Kesteven has its own Local Plan and East Lindsey is without a current Local Plan.
The numbers remain way too high, based in part on the pre-brexit hope of developers wanting to revisit the boom years before the economic crisis. So does it matter? It matters if we get large numbers more dwellings without the matching infrastructure, facilities or services. Local Councils have increasing demands and less resources. Hence we see worsening roads, council grass not cut, lights off at night, fewer bus services and less access to ambulances, A and E or hospital beds when we need them.
Everyone needs a decent home they can afford. Prices are held high by developers controlling the flow of build, using the land with permission in Lincolnshire to borrow and build in London and the South-east where capital gains are higher.
We need to build communities not housing estates. Places where jobs, facilities and services match what people need. That means focussing first on doing what we can to assist a range of local businesses to thrive, providing the engine of finance for everything else.
Having got a generous plan designed for development, we may now find our councils held responsible for developing it. The Right Honourable Ministers Gavin Barlow and Sajid Javid have released their plan which includes holding Councils responsible to get these sites built out faster. That could mean using public money to build houses in places where we do not have the matching jobs, services nor facilities for the new residents. The white paper is out for consultation now. We have allocated vast tracts of land, so it is not councils holding it up!
On the Local Plan, I attended several the hearings and was present as most of these amendments were shaped. You may be interested in my comments and response below.
Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Independent Councillor for Branston and Navenby on Lincolnshire County Council and for the Cliff Villages on North Kesteven District Council
Leader of the Lincolnshire Independents