Council agrees to progress with developing a new local planPublished Tuesday 19 December 2023
Harborough District Council will go ahead and progress the development of its new local plan 2020-2041.
After listening to a presentation from the council’s Director of Planning and considering specialist planning advice, Full Council agreed that pressing ahead was the best approach at this point in time to protect the district’s towns and villages from unplanned and unwanted speculative development.
The plan will run from 2020-2041 and a six-week consultation on the first stages will begin in January 2024. Between 2020-2023 the council delivered around 1,000 homes per year and has two large strategic sites allocated at Lutterworth East and Scraptoft North. By including these completions and commitments it means only approximately 340 dwellings per year need to be planned for going forward.
Council also agreed to join seven other local authorities in Leicestershire and sign the Statement of Common Ground, which is an agreement to help meet some of the need for new homes that Leicester City Council is unable to provide within its own boundaries.
By signing the Statement of Common Ground it will help to ensure that the new Harborough District local plan meets its legal requirement to co-operate with neighbouring authorities to address strategic planning issues.
However, to protect the council’s position, and following a motion raised by the Cabinet lead for Planning, Cllr Galton, which was seconded by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Knowles, it was agreed that if Leicester’s housing and employment needs reduce significantly, the council expects its allocation to reduce pro-rata. It was also agreed that if the changes to the soon-to-be-released National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) mean that Harborough District Council does not need to take any unmet need from Leicester City Council, the council reserves the right to withdraw from the Statement of Common Ground.
Cllr Phil Knowles, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “For several months the coalition administration of the council has been working with officers to gather and share information with councillors and with the public. We understand that residents have been deeply concerned about housing targets set out in the Statement of Common Ground and we have found a way to include housing completions and commitments from the past three years into the housing targets for the district going forward, resulting in a reduced target of around 340 new houses a year through to 2041.
“The clock is ticking and we have got to move forward with the district’s local plan to keep control of where development goes in our district. We have put caveats in relating to signing the Statement of Common Ground to ensure that we can withdraw or think again from this if certain factors change. It’s essential that we protect our towns and villages for every member of our community now and for future generations.”
The Council will now inform partners officially of the decision to sign the agreement.
Details of the report of Full Council on 18 December 2023 can be found at www.harborough.gov.uk/councillors-and-council-meetings
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