Horncastle

Bus station upgrade withdrawal ‘disgraceful’

Lincolnshire County Council has been slammed for putting the brakes on plans to upgrade two bus stops in Horncastle as part of a 256-home development due to a lack of resources.

Discussing an application by Cyden Homes to remove a condition to upgrade the stops from plans for Langton Hill, councillors on East Lindsey District Council said a change of gear by the county highways department to say it was ‘no longer required’ were ‘disgraceful’ and ‘depressing’.

According to the report before council, the authority said it did not have the resources to maintain the shelters adding that they were only acceptable if funding could be secured.

“Due to the costs associated with maintaining such features it has not been possible to secure such arrangements,” said LCC.

“The Highway Authority has subsequently confirmed that, although they recognise the benefit to those using the bus stop, they do not now consider the provision of the bus shelters to be technically necessary to satisfy highway and sustainable transport requirements,” added the report.

The new application received 13 letters of objection from residents as well as Horncastle Town Council and Thimbleby Parish Council.

In a statement, the town council said the shelters would benefit the town by providing additional infrastructure and improving the bus service which “is already well-used and will be even more required when the 256 new homes are built”.

However, district councillors also criticised both the town council and the developers Cyden Homes.

Chairman of the planning committee councillor Neil Cooper said: “So, planning inspector puts a condition on, county council said put the shelters on but we’re not adopting them, we’re not maintaining them in the future, so we’ll object to it — that is a disgrace.

“There’s an opportunity for a community benefit which county council are saying no to because they don’t want to maintain the shelters full-stop and clearly the town council are not that community-spirited to take on the responsibility of the shelters.”

“We are stuffed, there is little or nothing we can do to go against this application.”

Vice Chairman Dick Edginton said it was ‘quite depressing’ to see the comments from LCC.

“This is a further example the depressing state of mind at county hall,” he said.

Following the meeting, a Lincolnshire County Council spokesperson said: “Although the county council required two bus stops for this development, there was no legal basis on which we could claim accompanying shelters were necessary. However, the developer did offer to provide them.

“Apart from the rare exception, the county council does not maintain bus shelters. Generally, this falls under the remit of the parish councils. We understand the developer did speak to the town council about this, but they were unable to reach an agreement.

“Given that, there was no basis on which we could object to the developer’s application to not provide shelters for the new stops, even more so as it is debatable whether there is sufficient room for one on the Skegness-bound side.”