Officers from the Local Plan team will be present to give an update on the draft Local Plan.
Grant Butterworth – Head of Planning was present at the meeting and gave a presentation on the Draft Leicester Local Plan (2020 – 2036) Public Consultation.
During the presentation, the Head of Planning drew particular attention to the following points:
· The Government were consulting on a new approach to Planning; however the Planning White Paper would radically change the local plan process, national policies, a zoning approach and much more permitted development and changes to the way in which housing demand would be worked out.
· Leicester City Council had decided to continue with their Local Plan as the timespan for the implementation of the White Paper could be two or more years.
· The importance of the local plan which looked ahead up until 2036, sought to look at the Councils need for homes, addressing unemployment, shopping, and leisure facilities and allocate sites for the these.
· The plan also set out a range of the Council’s planning policies (e.g. Climate Change and Public Health), encouraged investment & economic growth, facilitated place-making and set high quality design expectations.
· Housing site draft allocations were noted, these made up a range of 5 main strategic sites and approximately 85 other sites. Other development anticipated was located in the city centre/ Central Development Area (CDA).
· There were several non-strategic sites proposed for developments within the Abbey Ward including:
o Birstall Golf Course adjacent to Astill Drive (green wedge site 472): 52 dwellings,
o Birstall Golf Course south of Park Drive (green wedge site 474): 53 dwellings and,
o Land adjacent to Great Central Railway (green wedge site 575): leisure/ tourism and potential dual park and ride use.
o Land to the east of Beaumont Leys Lane (site 589): 30 dwellings,
o Hadrian Road Open Space (site 687): 2.7ha employment,
o Ingold Avenue Open Space (site 557): 47 dwellings and enhancement of remainder of open space,
o Ranworth Open Space (site 647): 31 dwellings
o Woodstock Road (site 992: 5 dwellings),
o St Helen’s Close Open Space (site 675): 14 dwellings and enhancement of remainder of open space.
o Land off Heacham Drive (site 1042): 45 dwellings
o Former Bus Depot, Abbey Park Road – which was earmarked as a potential school site, but the funding application had now been withdrawn. However, this site may be appropriate for alternative uses e.g. housing.
Further discussion took place as to what services and infrastructure would be required to support the plan i.e. potential library, youth service, community halls, sports/ leisure facilities and health care provisions as well as other potential services.
The governments standard methodology which looked at population and was set around 18 months ago was explained. However, the government target was yet to be confirmed.
The Head of Planning expressed that allocations in the draft local plan were not currently fixed and it was requested that Ward Councillors and residents engaged in the consultation.
In terms of the next stages:
· This public consultation started on 14th Set 2020 and ended on 7th Dec 2020, all comments and representations received would carefully be considered.
· Following this, there would then be a further consultation exercise in Autumn 2021 which would detail the final plan and sites that would be submitted to the government.
· There would then be a public examination with the government inspector.
· It would most likely be Autumn 2022 before the plan was adopted.
Councillors and residents expressed some of the following concerns and comments:
Ingold Avenue and whether this site included the play area?
The Head of Planning responded that the allocation on the plan showed the whole open space however a note within the plan recognised parts which should be retained and/ or enhanced. There were no current specifics as to which parts would be developed.
Whether the Blackbird Road playing fields site proposal was in addition to current developments taking place on this site? It was responded that this site was a further phase and it didn’t currently have consent.
St Helen’s Close – had any investigation taken place as to whether the land was suitable for development due to ground conditions and also concerns of potential access issues especially for emergency services? The response was that detailed work hadn’t been done, but the access concerns had been recognised.
A further concern of proposed developments at St Helen’s Close was that depending on the area developed people living on Anstey Lane could lose their privacy.
It was confirmed that there would be no highway scheme proposal at Rally Park in this plan, as there was no intention of funding in this plan to deliver this.
The policy context for Green wedge sites was explained, and it was noted that whilst green wedge sites were protected from development in the current Plan, the new Local Plan would supersede this.
In addition, it was noted that covenants related to the ownership of land and were effectively matters covered by separate legislation from planning permission, the resident with personal concerns on this matter was advised to obtain personal legal advice.
Leaflets explaining about the draft local plan consultation had been sent to every household in the city and letters delivered to anyone living next to a proposed site. However a resident had concerns that letters had not been received by some residents, it was therefore requested that the resident email: firstname.lastname@example.org and correspondence could be resent.
The Head of Planning emphasised the importance of people feeding back these and any other concerns into the consultation as they could then be considered going forward.