Coun Michael Seymour.

Councillor walks out over plans

A councillor has claimed colleagues are undermining the plan for housing in South Lincolnshire after walking out of a recent planning meeting.

Coun Michael Seymour, who has sat on South Holland District Council’s Planning Committee for nearly 20 years, told The Voice he’d walked out of last week’s meeting “on principle”.

It was during a hearing on whether eight, three-bedroom homes in Northorpe should be given planning permission.

The authority’s planning officer had recommended refusal for the cul-de-sac on land currently being used for businesses including a haulage company because the land is still technically designated as agricultural land.

Among the reasons were that the land is not designated for development in the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan and is outside current development land.

The local plan was brought in earlier this year after more than a decade of consultation and discussion and sets out where South Holland and Boston Borough Council should build up to 2036.

However amid claims from some members that the land had not been used for agricultural use for 70 years, the committee voted against the refusal recommendation.

Some councillors expressed support for the application despite the site being outside the development guidelines.

While the meeting was adjourned to discuss a possible deferment, Coun Seymour walked out.

The committee’s chair, Roger Gambba-Jones, told the meeting: “To paraphrase his words he said ‘if they carry on like that, I’m going’.”

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Seymour said: “Developing the Local Plan went on for a number of years and several members of the planning committee sorted that out.

“It seems since it was passed there has been repeated attempts to undermine it by different members.”

Before the adjournment and Coun Seymour walking out, some councillors expressed support for the application despite the site being outside the development guidelines.

Coun Harry Drury said: “This really isn’t open countryside.

“I believe this development to be sustainable. It’s close to existing properties and is what I believe to be a windfall site.”

A windfall site is a term used to describe land that’s available to become developed unexpectedly.

Coun Henry Bingham said: “I’m in favour of the redevelopment. Even though in the report it’s classed as agriculture land, anyone living in the area will tell you it’s been a haulage yard for more than double the time I’ve been alive, be it legal use or illegal use.

“The current haulage use will make far more noise.

“There’s few other uses for a site such as this as redevelopment.”

However Coun Gambba-Jones said: “It’s outside the defined development boundary in order to prevent urban sprawl. If you want your towns and villages to continue to grow unchecked then by all means revise your local plan to remove the development boundaries and say all comers are welcome.”

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