Leicester’s Local Plan has been submitted to the Government for its Public Examination stage.
The plan and supporting evidence, including all the comments and petitions received during the last of four consultation exercises undertaken by the city council, have now been passed to the Government, which will appoint inspectors to manage the public scrutiny and debate of the proposals early next year.
Examination of the plan gives all interested parties, from residents and developers to neighbouring councils and other consultees, a chance to debate the proposals, which focus on creating new houses and employment between now and 2036.
The process allows inspectors to recommend potential changes or modifications to the plan after hearing all sides of the debate.
The council will then decide whether to adopt the final plan, following a final round of public consultation on any proposed modifications next year.
Leicester City Council is progressing with its Local Plan, despite the Government undertaking an ongoing review of the planning system, which is not expected to be finalised until at least 2025.
Moving ahead with the Local Plan is necessary to ensure the city has an up-to-date set of policies and proposals in the meantime, and any significant changes at this late stage would also mean extra costs, delays and create even greater pressure on potential development areas to be used for the creation of much-needed housing.
It would also mean a need to renegotiate agreements with neighbouring councils over taking on some of the development needed.
Currently the plan sees around 19,000 homes (around half of the overall housing need) together with an area of employment land to the equivalent of over 32 football pitches proposed to be met across the county that cannot be met within the city boundary.
Leicester assistant city mayor for housing and neighbourhoods, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “We desperately need the Local Plan to progress to allow us to tackle the housing crisis by getting on with delivering affordable housing and setting policy and design standards for development which are fit for the future.
“Any delay at this stage in the process will bring the whole of the current plan down – each year our housing need significantly increases and this would have to be considered through the re-opening of the hard-earned agreement with districts across the county to accommodate this.”
City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “Those politicians looking to avoid making difficult decisions through delay and prevarication are ignoring the extensive process and outcomes of four previous consultations which have resulted in hundreds of sites being taken out of the plan and a substantial increase in brownfield land proposals.
“Suggestions that the long-awaited Government changes to the planning system will benefit the city are misleading in the extreme.
“As it stands, the Government's proposed abolition of the duty to co-operate and their relentless focus on forcing inflated housing targets onto the 20 biggest cities rather than their suburban and rural constituencies would mean that more, not fewer, houses will need to be planned for.
“Councillors will have the final say on whether to adopt the plan. At this stage we welcome the proposed independent review and public scrutiny through the Government’s inspectors and commit to give full consideration to all reasonable modifications which might be proposed through this important stage in the process.”
Notes for Editors
- Leicester City Council’s new Local Plan sets out a framework for future development for the period 2020 to 2036, including areas such as development, waste, suite allocation and new policies. It is expected that this will be adopted in 2024.
- Four rounds of consultation have already been carried out, developing draft policies and recommended sites for development to meet Government targets.
- The most recent consultation was on the publication draft of the Local Plan in January and February 2023. This version of the Local Plan is the document that is being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in public.
- Consultations have also involved the eight local authorities and two transport authorities.
- Leicester has a significant need for housing and employment - Leicester needs 39,400 new homes between 2020 to 2036.
- Of the proposals in the city, 71% of homes are planned on brownfield sites, with 29% proposed for greenfield sites.
- Local Plans are at the heart of the planning system and are the main consideration in deciding planning applications. The Leicester City Local Plan 2020 – 2036 Plan will be used to manage development through the determination of planning applications, making it clear where development is acceptable and helping to provide certainty for the local community. This will help to ensure that development is planned, co-ordinated, well designed and will make a positive contribution to the city.