Decisions made at Executive meeting – 15 May 2017Published Tuesday 16 May 2017
The outcomes of items considered at Harborough District Council’s Executive meeting on Monday 15 May 2017 are as follows.
Councillors agreed to launch a public consultation to help develop Harborough District Council’s new Physical Activity Strategy for the Harborough district. The strategy will help revitalise leisure facilities in the Harborough district as part of a drive to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity. As well as consulting the public, there will also be targeted discussions with key stakeholders and with a number of sports and leisure clubs within the district. The aim of the Physical Activity Strategy is to create accessible, sustainable sport and leisure opportunities across the district which encourage participation, improve health and well-being and enhance quality of life. As the council’s current contract with Harborough District Leisure Trust (HDLT) – which oversees the maintenance of the leisure centres with management company Serco – ends in March 2019, a number of options will also be considered aiming to maximise the use of leisure facilities in the most cost-effective way. Proposals for a new leisure centre in Market Harborough – replacing the existing building – and a refurbishment of Lutterworth Sports Centre will also be explored. The eight-week public consultation is scheduled to start in the summer.
Councillors approved plans for improvements to the council’s online Choice Based Lettings scheme which is a key part of its housing and homelessness services. Councillors agreed that new software should be introduced to improve Choice Based Lettings for customers in need of housing and to create a more cost-effective, efficient, customer-friendly online service. In 2000, Harborough District Council introduced a Choice Based Lettings scheme and in 2010 HDC joined with other local authorities to form the Leicestershire Choice Based Lettings Partnership. Through the scheme, each council as its own Homesearch website through which residents, on the housing register, can bid online for preferred properties. In 2015/16, 248 households were housed through the scheme and in the past year the Choice Based Lettings scheme prevented 37 households from becoming homeless by providing alternative housing.
Councillors noted recommendations that a strategic development area to the east of Lutterworth , together with a strategic development area north of Scraptoft is the preferred option to accommodate the majority of new housing development in Harborough district still required to be identified for the period to 2031. The new Local Plan will set out planning policies in the district up to 2031. It will make sure development meets strategic priorities for housing, employment, community facilities, transport and other infrastructure needed to support development. Earlier this year, the Leicester and Leicestershire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) – which will feed into the new Local Plan – identified a need for 10,640 dwellings to be built in the Harborough district between 2011 to 2031. That equates to 532 homes per year in that period. Councillors also noted proposals for additional housing as a contingency and to promote flexibility in meeting any unmet housing need from elsewhere in Leicestershire. This will bring the total amount of housing required to 12,800. However, since 2011, over 8,000 or about 60% of the homes required in the Harborough district up to 2031 have been built, granted planning permission, or allocated by neighbourhood plans. In addition to the preferred strategic development areas, the Local Plan will identify other housing sites in Market Harborough and other suitable locations for future development, including business and shopping, within the district. It will also include proposals for green wedges and countryside protection and put forward new policies against which decisions on planning applications will be made, replacing the old Local Plan approved in 2001 and the Core Strategy adopted by the Council in 2011. Local communities will also have the opportunity, through the preparation of neighbourhood plans, to identify further sites they would like to see developed, to meet their share of housing need set out in the Local Plan, as well as to bring forward their own policies for the protection and enhancement of their villages. It is anticipated that a draft version of the new Local Plan will be published in the summer of 2017 followed by an opportunity for public representations.
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