Vision for future growth in Charnwood is submitted to Government

Published: Mon 13th December, 2021

Charnwood Borough Council has submitted its Local Plan and vision for the area to Government.

The Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37 is a key document for supporting future growth and developing healthy communities and environmental safeguards. It guides development and identifies locations for housing and employment land. The Local Plan also considers the impacts of climate change, infrastructure needs and protection of green spaces.

The Local Plan has been developed following four public consultations, including the latest one in the summer when there were over 700 representations.

The submission to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities marks the start of the formal examination of the Local Plan which will be carried out by an independent inspector nominated by the Planning Inspectorate. An inspector will be appointed to examine whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and if it is sound.

Cllr Richard Bailey, the Council’s lead member for planning, said: “A Local Plan is critical to making sure areas can grow in a sustainable way, creating homes and jobs that people need, ensuring we have the right infrastructure to support our communities and making sure we are looking after the environment.

“Local Plans also come under intense scrutiny from the planning inspector, developers and other interested parties so we have to make sure we get this right.

“We have now submitted to Government our Local Plan and all the comments from the latest consultation which included representations from residents, developers and other organisations.

“I would once again like to thank everyone took part in the consultation exercises and helped shape this plan.”

The Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37:

  • Identifies 154 hectares of employment land to support the creation of 8,900 jobs in the borough and lead its pandemic recovery
  • Allocates land for new sustainable and well-designed homes. The Government has set a target of 1,111 new homes a year to meet the borough’s needs up to 2037.
  • Focuses development towards intensifying and extending existing urban and suburban areas and larger villages, thereby protecting nearly 279 square kilometres of open countryside
  • Plans for the critical mass of development needed to secure infrastructure - including five new schools at Loughborough, Shepshed, Barrow, Anstey and Syston - as well as health services, roads and public transport networks
  • Will bring in an estimated £200 million in Section 106 money to pay for other improvements to facilities and amenities
  • Reflects the importance of the environment and conserving biodiversity, protecting heritage sites, creating open leisure spaces and supporting healthier communities
  • Carefully considers of the effects of climate change and how to reduce its impacts, including flooding
  • Makes effective use of the borough’s strategic infrastructure, including Loughborough University, the urban edge of Leicester and the International Gateway connection to the M1 motorway and East Midlands Airport

More details about the format and timings of the examination, including any public hearing sessions, are anticipated to be made available by the Planning Inspectorate in the new year.

There is a specific website set up for the Local Plan examination which provides access to all the documents that the Council has submitted. Visit Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37 - Examination

What happens next

A Planning Inspector will be appointed by the Planning Inspectorate.

The examination will assess whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and if it is sound. The four tests of soundness are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The Inspector will consider the evidence provided by Charnwood Borough Council to support the plan and any representations which have been put forward by local people and other interested parties. In most cases the examination will include hearing sessions which are held in public. For the current Local Plan, the hearings were held at Loughborough Town Hall.

At the end of the examination the Inspector will send a report to Charnwood Borough Council recommending whether or not they can adopt the plan. In most cases the report will recommend some changes that are necessary to allow the plan to be adopted. These are known as ‘main modifications’.

In carrying out the examination, the Inspector will be conscious of the benefits of having a robust and up to date plan adopted as quickly as possible and will apply the principles of openness, fairness and impartiality.

More information about the Local Plan process is available on the Government’s website: www.gov.uk/guidance/local-plans

How long will this take?

The aim is to adopt the local plan towards the end of next year. We are awaiting details of when the examination hearings will be. More details about the timetable will be published on the examination website: www.charnwood.gov.uk/examination