LONG SUTTON PARISH COUNCIL: Fears over council ‘sifting process’ ahead of vote on new homes plan

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of South Holland District Council's planning committee. Photo supplied.
  • Committee members from town urged to ‘vote with their consciences and listen to the people’

Concerns that objections to a planned 215-home development in Long Sutton are going through a “sifting process” at district council level have been raised.

The possible impact of the proposed development by Long Sutton farming business OGE Chapman and Son on 26 acres of land between Seagate Road and Wisbech Road was debated at January’s parish council meeting on Thursday.

This proposed development, if it goes ahead, will have a very significant, detrimental impact on the character of the area

Martin Dickinson, of Long Sutton

During an open forum at the start of the meeting, Long Sutton resident Martin Dickinson claimed that South Holland District Council was under pressure from central government to “build houses in this district”.

Mr Dickinson said: “I’ve sent an email to the council’s planning committee chairman, Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, with regard to the proposed development, asking two very simple questions.

“Could he give me a catagorical assurance that it doesn’t operate a sifting process on all comments and objections properly put through by either letter, email or on its website?

“Could he also assure me that all comments and objections received through the proper channels are actually presented to members of its planning committee, prior to any vote being taken?”

Mr Dickinson went on to challenge Long Sutton district councillors Laura Eldridge, Andrew Tennant and Jack Tyrrell, all planning committee members, to “stand up and be counted” in voting against the development.

Two weeks before the meeting, parish councillors held a public meeting where residents raised flood risk, increased traffic and overflowing sewage fears if more homes were built.

Mr Dickinson said: “This proposed development, if it goes ahead, will have a very significant, detrimental impact on the character of the area.

“I understand the pressure that South Holland District Council is under to build houses in this district.

“But are our elected representatives, who sit on the planning committee, going to toe the party line or are they going to vote with their consciences and listen to the people of Long Sutton who put them where they are?

“I make the point on behalf of the people who live in and care about Long Sutton - stand up and be counted.”

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Dickinson said: “This proposed development would have a very significant impact upon the character of the area when you take a naturally draining, very fertile, food-producing 22-acre field and cover it with 215 houses which is likely to become nearer 300 houses.

“The fact is that it will be necessary to raise the level of the properties by 1.7m to keep the inhabitants safe from flooding which, as a consequence, will increase significantly the risk to other existing properties in Seagate Road, The Cherries and Seagate Terrace.

“The fact is that these additional houses will feed into a sewerage system which is, at times, incapable of coping with existing properties in London Road and overspills into an open dyke before being pumped out by Anglian Water.”

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