July 26, 2010 10.21 pm This story is over 160 months old

Commons Advisory Panel urges against Lincoln West Common racecourse plans

Incomplete: The Commons Advisory Panel advised the City Council Executive not to approve plans for a West Common racecourse.

— Updated on July 27 @ 10:55 with LRRC reaction*

The Commons Advisory Panel (CAP) has decided to recommend against plans from the Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company (LRRC) to reinstate horse racing on Lincoln’s West Common. CAP advised the City of Lincoln Council on July 26 that it has insufficient information to proceed with the racecourse plans.

CAP’s advice will be taken into consideration on August 9, when the Executive Committee will gather to vote on whether it will give the LRRC a 12-month heads of terms lease to carry out additional environmental and traffic assessments for its plans to bring back flat racing on the city’s West Common.

Around 80 people attended the meeting at the New Life Christian Fellowship on Newland Street, where the CAP echoed most of the points it made at the July 14 gathering. The consensus among members of the panel, chaired by Councillor Helen Heath, was in disagreement for a racecourse on the West Common.

Councillor Neil Murray’s motion which urged the City of Lincoln Council to reject LRRC’s plans was passed with 11 votes in favour, one against, and four abstaining. Conservative Councillor John Metcalfe left the room at the time of the vote.

CAP’s recommendations will be put forward to the City of Lincoln Council’s Executive Committee on August 9, which will decide on the viability of LRRC’s plans. It is expected that the plans will not get approved by the Executive Committee, according to a Conservative councillor who wished to remain anonymous in order to be able to cast a vote at the committee.

“The outcome of the Lincoln Commons Advisory Panel this evening was a victory for common sense,” said Emile Van Der Zee, who is leading the Hands Off Our Common anti-racecourse campaign. “We would be very surprised if the Executive of the Council would come to a different conclusion on August 9.

“It is not possible to trust a company which is not able to formulate clear plans, does not have a business plan, asks for a 12 months lease of the West Common without specifying the terms of the lease, and contradicts itself in what it says and writes,” Van Der Zee added.

* “We are extremely disappointed with the recommendation made by the Commons Advisory Panel,” said Karen Rastall, spokesperson of LRRC. “In our opinion, they failed to grasp that we were not seeking agreement to build, but are asking the Council for agreement to create a masterplan for the area, which would include a major environmental impact assessment, and a traffic management assessment coupled with a full detailed business plan.

“We would urge the City of Lincoln Council to thoroughly review our request to create a masterplan for the area the preparation of which would be time-limited, as we believe that this is a unique opportunity for regeneration of a major area for the benefit of all of us that live and work in this city,” Rastall added.