Working to create sustainable communities

Published Thursday 21 March 2019

Millions of pounds for infrastructure and community facilities are being secured by the Council to ensure that development across the Harborough district is sustainable.

Harborough District Council is working with construction companies, and other organisations, to help secure ‘Section 106 Agreements’ which require developers to contribute funding for community facilities in areas where development has taken place.

In recent years, the Harborough district has been consistently named as one of the best places in which to live in the UK. With demand from people wanting to live in the district increasing – as well as a drive from central government for more housing nationally – there are added pressures to meet housing need in a sustainable and managed way.

The Council does this in a number of ways – over and above assessing each individual planning application as part of the normal planning process. For example; by providing extra resources to strengthen capacity to help deliver the appropriate infrastructure where needed through ‘masterplans’ for the Lutterworth East and Scraptoft strategic development areas – two key areas earmarked for new housing. Also through the Local Plan, set for adoption in the Spring of 2019.

The Council’s Local Plan, which underpins all development in the district as part of a wider strategy for managing growth, sets out a requirement for 12,800 properties to be built in the Harborough district – objectively assessed and evidenced through research, consultation and examination – up until 2031. However; nearly 70 per cent of these homes have already been built or committed through planning permissions and neighbourhood plans. That leaves approximately 4,010 homes left to be built in the district up to 2031 (not including contingencies).

As these targets are delivered, through new housing developments, local authorities play a key role in helping secure infrastructure – such as affordable housing, schools, parks, cycleways, policing, health facilities and road improvements – to ensure communities are sustainable and able to support the residents living within them.  Initial indications are that the Local Plan has the potential to provide approximately £155m of investment in local infrastructure.

Recent examples of agreed [section 106] community benefits secured by the Council, working with other organisations such as Leicestershire County Council, include:

  • Overstone Park (off Kettering Road), Market Harborough (up to 600 homes)  – Nearly £2million worth of community improvements and facilities, primary school, shops, play area, 180 affordable homes  and £100,000 for local healthcare, £163,000 for policing
  • Former Cottage Hospital site, Coventry Road, Market Harborough (70-bed care home) – Over  £50,000 for community facilities, over £6,300 for healthcare at the Market Harborough Medical Centre, and preservation for the public of the on-site war memorial portico, which lists the names of local soldiers who fought during World War One
  • Burnmill Farm, Market Harborough (128 Homes) – affordable homes, parks,  bus stop, allotments, over £50,000 for local healthcare, nearly £210,000 for off-site outdoor sports facilities, £640,000 for town centre roads improvement and over £830,000 for local schools
  • Airfield Farm, north of Market Harborough (924 homes – two of three sites) – primary school, sports pitches, country park, play areas, allotments, local centre with shops and services, and substantial contributions towards healthcare, highway improvements, public transport and secondary school places
  • Saddington Road, Fleckney (290 homes) – upgrades to Fleckney village hall, Fleckney Band hall, sports centre and all weather pitch etc
  • Fleckney Road, Kibworth Beauchamp (195 homes) – Upgrade of community facilities and halls and scout facilities, etc

Norman Proudfoot, Harborough District Council’s joint chief executive, said:  “As a Council, we are working hard to ensure any new development is sustainable, in keeping with the character of the district and not contrary to planning policy. Credit should go to the officers, councillors, parish councils, partners and residents working daily to achieve this. When we approve our Local Plan, this will place us in a much stronger position going forward to ensure any new development is appropriate for our district and meets the needs of our residents.”