LEICESTER City Council has prepared the final version of its Local Plan for consultation in the New Year.
A Local Plan sets out how local authorities propose to organise and allow development through the planning process for the next 15 years. It is a legal requirement that all authorities draw up and adopt a Local Plan.
As part of the process of adopting a new plan in Leicester, three consultations have already been carried out. Initial options were consulted on in 2014, before a further consultation in 2017 looked at possible sites in the city that could be allocated for future development. A consultation in 2020 set out draft policies and recommended sites that could be developed to meet Government targets, which have increased considerably over the course of preparing for a new Local Plan.
Feedback has been gathered from these consultations and incorporated into the latest Local Plan. Other factors have also been taken into account, such as changing legislation and the need to incorporate key local policies on topics such as health, heritage, biodiversity and climate change.
As a result, some proposed development sites for the new Local Plan have been removed or modified. Changes have also been made to increase the number of homes that will be built on brownfield sites and in the city centre.
The overall housing need for Leicester between 2020 and 2036 is 39,424 homes in total, which includes homes already completed and existing planning permissions. In terms of new site allocations, 6,668 (71%) homes are proposed on brownfield sites in the city, with 2,686 (29%) planned on greenfield sites.
The Plan is supported by an agreement with councils in Leicestershire – known as a statement of common ground – which will form a key part of Leicester’s Local Plan. This means 18,700 of the total 39,424 homes the Government says Leicester needs to build by 2036 will be built on land outside of the city’s boundaries. In addition, around 23 hectares of employment land - from a total requirement of 65 hectares - will be allocated outside of the city, on behalf of Leicester.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It’s been a long road getting to this point in developing a new Local Plan, with delays to our consultation processes due to covid, and constantly changing legislation to factor in.
“While we have been developing the Plan, the Government increased our housing need by 35%, adding a further 9,712 homes to our need between 2020 and 2036. In March 2022, it then published more new data which increased housing need in the city by a further 2,800 homes, raising our overall housing need for Leicester between 2020 and 2036 to 39,424 homes in total. This is very challenging indeed.
“But thankfully, the support and co-operation of our neighbouring local authorities means we can now move ahead with a plan that will give us all local control over where and how development takes place.
“Leicester is a city with very tight boundaries, so there is simply not enough space for the amount of homes and employment land the Government says we must provide. Despite this, we are doing all we can to make best use of the land we do have – for example by utilising brownfield sites where we can, providing more homes in the central development area and revisiting our policy on tall buildings.
“We are working to strike a balance between providing the homes and jobs needed for Leicester to continue to thrive, and protecting our important heritage, biodiversity and green spaces. A Local Plan is our best and only chance of having local control over decisions like these.”
Leicester’s emerging Local Plan will run to 2036.
It is now set to be considered at a full meeting of Leicester City Council on 24 November and, if approved there, will progress to a final consultation phase in the New Year and then submission to a Government Inspector for approval.
To find out more, visit https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/planning/local-plan-documents/