Public vent anger over lorry plans

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ANGRY calls were directed at South Holland’s councillors as they voted in favour of removing restrictions preventing lorries from visiting a business site in Whaplode.

Goalpost-style height and width restrictions will be taken away from the entrance to The Cobgate Building as a result of the planning committee vote on Tuesday, despite fierce opposition from residents in the village.

Applicant David Green will be able to have up to ten HGV movements a day at the site, which has also been granted continued use for business and storage.

It was the second time the authority had opened debate on the issue following concerns raised about road safety at the first hearing in November.

Councillors chose to defer the application to clarify “inconsistent” advice from Lincolnshire County Council’s highways officers, who have chosen not to object to the plans.

However, further passionate pleas this week to protect local residents by villager Sue Stroud, parish councillor Mike Pullen, district councillors Bob Creese and Malcolm Chandler failed to be supported by the committee.

Coun Chris Brewis said the application was “difficult” because the site’s history “goes back a long way”.

He said: “Ten movements a day sounds a lot but it’s not. We have got to have a pretty watertight reason for refusal and I have not heard one yet.”

Coun Francis Biggadike said he felt councillors could not come up with a valid reason to refuse the plans on road safety grounds without the support of highways officers.

Those sentiments were echoed by Coun Bryan Alcock: “One can understand the local concern and one should not dismiss it, but we need to come up with a reason for refusal.”

He said comments in the report which stated vehicles could still be legally loaded and unloaded in the street if restrictions were not removed highlighted the “nonsensical” situation the council was in.

Only Coun Anthony Casson voted to object to the plans, saying it was a “narrow road and narrow footpath”.

The plans were approved ten votes to one, with a number of conditions placed on the application.

Signs must be placed on the exit on to Cobgate instructing drivers to turn left and a register of HGV movements must be kept for inspection by the council. Councillors asked for options for a “fool-proof” system of monitoring to be explored.