Have your say on how city and county will grow

Published Thursday, 11 January 2018

PEOPLE are being asked to have their say on a plan setting out how Leicester and Leicestershire will grow in the future.

A draft Strategic growth plan is being developed by a partnership formed by Leicester City and Leicestershire County councils, the seven local borough and district authorities and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

It puts forward proposals for the new housing and transport improvements that would be needed to attract jobs and investment to Leicester and Leicestershire from now until 2050.

The final version of the plan will provide strategic direction and help shape the Local Plans that the city, borough and district councils are or will be preparing or reviewing. Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is currently consulting on its local plan.

It will also be used to support bids for government funding to deliver the infrastructure needed to support growth.

Now, people are invited to comment on the plan by taking part in a county-wide consultation, which runs from 11 January until 5 April 2018.

The plan estimates that Leicester and Leicestershire needs 96,580 new homes and 367-423 hectares of employment land from 2011 to 2031. Some of these homes have already been built or have planning permission. In Hinckley and Bosworth the plan estimates that 9,315 new homes are needed. This figure has been adjusted to include homes that have been built in the borough since 2011 and sites with planning permission already in place

Beyond 2031, the plan identifies the need for a further 90,500 dwellings and additional employment land across Leicester and Leicestershire, which is why further land needs to be unlocked. Local plans will deal with the detailed allocation of which sites will be brought forward. 

Draft proposals put forward in the Strategic Growth Plan include major infrastructure improvements on which new growth is dependent. These include a new link road – the A46 Expressway – to the south and east of Leicester, running from the M69 and the M1 to the A46 north of the city.

The A5 and A42 would also be upgraded to expressway status, supporting growth in these areas. Rail improvements are also proposed. 

These road and rail improvements would require significant government investment and would relieve congestion pressures along the M1 and more widely across the Midlands. It would also potentially unlock land for the required housing and employment.

Key areas for potential growth are the city of Leicester and the corridor of land around the proposed new road. Secondary areas for growth are identified in the north and the south of the county – there would be a ‘northern gateway’ close to East Midlands Airport, and a ‘southern gateway’, close to Magna Park.

Growth is also proposed for Melton and Lutterworth, where it would support transport improvements and relieve congestion in the towns. New housing would be built closer to where people work, to minimise congestion from commuters.

Councillor Miriam Surtees, Executive Member with responsibility for regeneration at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and the council member of the Strategic Growth Plan Members’ Advisory Group, said: “This is a long-term overall plan for the city and county, looking at how we can best accommodate  investment and growth, and provide the housing needed for our increasing population. We need national funding, particularly for infrastructure, so that we can grow and prosper – this is why we need this plan.

“We’re asking people whether they agree with the priorities we’ve identified, such as delivering new housing, focusing growth in key areas and identifying essential transport infrastructure that will be needed in the future such as the A5 expressway improvement that that will help to reduce congestion and support this aim.

“It’s important to stress that no decisions have yet been made, but we do have to plan ahead and identify areas for future growth, which would then be built into our future local plans at the appropriate time.

“We know that some of these proposals are controversial, but that’s why we’re having this consultation – to gather people’s views so that we can influence the final result.”

Council Leader Mike Hall said: “These are ambitious plans for Leicestershire, and we want to see them deliver economic growth and prosperity in the future, but for me to agree them they have to be right for Hinckley and Bosworth.

“This consultation is a chance for us to shape how that growth happens, by identifying what we do like, and what we don’t, and making changes where needed.

"Planning this far ahead was one of my election commitments to residents, and it’s important that we get it right so that you have a greater say in where our future growth is directed."

For more information and to take part in the consultation, please visit Strategic Growth plan Leicester & Leicestershire website or contact Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council’s Planning Policy Team on 01455 223141 or email PlanningPolicy@hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk.    Details of events across Leicestershire are available on the website.