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Councillor vows: "I'll call in every major application"

A furious Labour group leader says he will 'call in' every 'major' planning application to ensure they are determined by councillors.

Deepings member Phil Dilks issued the threat as ruling Conservatives on South Kesteven District Councillors overcame his call for councillors to determine such proposals.

Coun Dilks told a meeting of the full council he was ‘shocked’ to read in the media that the ‘gigantic’’ XPO Logistics warehouse at Easton was approved under delegated powers.

Phil Dilks
Phil Dilks

The old warehouse, which had burnt down, was 9m high, but it’s replacement will be five times higher at 46metres.

There would also be a new plant room, new roadways, and parking for 68HGVs and 263 cars.

“It’s a lot. It’s big and all passed through on the nod of the chairman (of development management committee).”

The Deepings councillor said the nearby Easton Walled Gardens opposed the scheme, saying the size of it threatened its business and employees.

“We have denied them the right to come in here and put their views forward.”

However, council leader Matthew Lee stressed the application was approved under an open and democratic process and SKDC processes had been followed.

But Coun Dilks said the application should have come before committee to let people have their say.

“It affects the reputation of the council. It’s about democracy.”

But Coun Lee responded the process was ‘transparent’ and not one opposition councillor had ‘called in’ the scheme to ensure the committee determined the application.

The Stamford St Mary’s Conservative noted the scheme brought £67million of investment, secured 300 jobs, with 200 more ‘on the way.’

“It shows we have a Conservative administration driving forward change and investment. We have an opposition fluttering around the edges seeking to pass blame.”

Coun Bob Adams (Con-Isaac Newton) said the scheme was in his ward, he had been consulted by the developers all the way through. A decision had to be made quickly to avoid the jobs been lost to 2-3 other places outside the district.

Coun Ashley Baxter said not bringing the application before councillors shows why people get cynical about council decisions.

The Deepings Independent said members were given ‘PR spin’ about the scheme, members were sworn to secrecy during a pre-application meeting and felt he was being ‘fobbed off’ by the applicant.

He understood the argument over jobs, but bringing an application before committee allows members to improve a proposal.

Cabinet member for growth and communications, Helen Goral, said SKDC had ambitious plans for growth and opposition members should consider the “huge ramifications of making processes complicated.”

Before the ruling Conservatives won their vote, Coun Dilks said no-one ‘called in’ the application as they believed it would come to committee.

He threatened: “If you turn down this motion, I will call in every major application. “

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