Local MPs decline meeting with council leader about share of Leicester’s unmet housing need

Published Monday 2 October 2023


The leader of Harborough District Council has written to local MPs in Leicestershire to express his disappointment after they declined to attend a meeting ahead of the next Full Council meeting, where a decision on whether to accept a share Leicester’s ‘unmet housing need’ will be made.

At Full Council on 18 September 2023, a motion proposed by the council leader to defer a decision on whether to become a signatory to the Leicester and Leicestershire Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) relating to housing and employment needs, was carried by councillors. At the meeting, Cllr Phil Knowles, Leader of Harborough District Council, referenced that the three local MPs had shared their views against signing this agreement and invited them to an open meeting to clarify and evidence the information that they have shared publicly on this issue and to question the advice that the council has been given.

The three MPs have declined a meeting with the leader on this issue.

In a letter to Neil O’Brien MP, Alicia Kearns MP and Alberto Costa MP, Cllr Knowles, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “We are deeply disappointed in this as we would welcome the opportunity for the differing views on the needs the council has to sign the Statement of Common Ground to be debated openly and transparently before we as a council have to take the final decision on this important issue.

“With regards to any questions we may have, we would like to understand why you believe the evidence we have had from external and internal planning advisors is not a compelling reason enough for us to consider signing the SOCG. We ask again for you to consider meeting us in open forum to debate the issue. There is over a month to the next council meeting and I am sure we can find a date to suit us all.”

Following the deferment, the decision will now be taken at Full Council meeting on 6 November 2023.

Seven of the nine local authorities in Leicestershire have already agreed the Statement of Common Ground. Read the report of Full Council on 18 September.