Local Plan hits major milestone

Published Friday, 25 March 2022

A key planning document that that will guide future development in Hinckley and Bosworth up to 2039 hit a major milestone this week.

The Local Plan sets out preferred locations for housing and economic growth and includes a number of planning policies covering a range of issues such as conserving and enhancing the natural and historic environment, sustainable transport, good design and responding to the challenges of climate change. The policies that form the Plan will be used to guide development and respond to economic, environmental and social issues within the borough.

Earlier this year residents, community groups, local businesses and others with an interest in the area were asked to give their views on the pre-submission version of the document. Now that consultation has ended and the responses considered, the council can progress to formal submission of the Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination in Public, pending no further national guidance or additional requirements are imposed by Government. This is the last and final stage in the statutory process that councils must complete before the Local Plan can form the council’s future framework for decision making on planning.

Councillor David Bill, Executive Member for Planning at the Borough Council said:

The Local Plan sits at the heart of the planning system and provides the framework against which all planning decisions are considered. The council has worked hard to progress it according to the government’s deadlines and we are pleased to have had support from senior government officials over our approach and progress on the Plan to date. 

I was dismayed to read the recent article featured by our local MP Dr Luke Evans about the borough Local Plan. He knows from recent correspondence with the council and advice from senior officers the council has been making good progress on its Local Plan which has even been acknowledged by the Government’s own senior officials. He has kindly offered further support from the Government. It might be appropriate that this support is directed to the County Council who are raising concerns over its own capacity to respond to our draft Local Plan on key matters such as education and highways infrastructure. 

We call on all partners who wish to help protect our communities from unwarranted development to engage in constructive dialogue with us to ensure the Local Plan is in place as soon as statutory deadlines allow. With that in place, we can guide development to the areas where it is desperately needed and protect the areas where it is not.

This is a real concern to all of us given the housing numbers the government is requiring this council to accommodate across the plan period (2020-39). We must accommodate a minimum of 9,124 dwellings to meet the housing requirements in the period from now to 2039 and the draft Local Plan sets out the strategy for how we can do this. 

I would like to add that the overwhelming feedback we receive from people is that there is insufficient infrastructure to support this growth. We alone as a district council cannot change infrastructure at this level, only government intervention can do this. That is why we call upon our MP to lobby for these changes and argue the case for the much-needed infrastructure improvements that will support this growth. The recent abandonment of the A5 scheme by the government shows what we are up against.