Council 'extremely disappointed' by delay to Local Plan hearings

Published: Fri 1st July, 2022

Planning inspectors have paused public hearings which are being held as part of the statutory scrutiny process for Charnwood Borough Council’s Local Plan.

The inspectors have postponed the remaining sessions to allow more time for the consideration of information relating to Leicester’s unmet housing need. Leicester does not have enough land for the new homes and employment land it needs in future years. Councils in Leicestershire have agreed to work together to share this unmet need.

An assessment was published recently looking at a range of issues connected to Leicester’s unmet need. It was released in May, months after Charnwood’s Local Plan was submitted to Government at the end of last year.

The planning inspectors appointed to examine the Local Plan, Sarah Housden and Hayden Baugh-Jones, advised that further consideration should be given to how the evidence for the apportionment of Leicester’s unmet need can be tested and the progression of the local plan examination overall. The inspectors will be liaising with the Council to establish a work programme and a timetable to resume the hearings.

The first week of hearings ended on Thursday, June 30 and were due to resume on July 12. The planning inspectors have not indicated how long the hearings will be delayed for.

Cllr Richard Bailey, the Council’s lead member for planning, said: “We are extremely disappointed the hearings have been delayed.

“To be very clear, this delay is not about the quality of Charnwood’s Local Plan but about Leicester’s unmet need. While we are not responsible for how another area meets its own need for new homes and employment, we have as a county already agreed to work together to help the city. It is not in the interests of the borough and its residents to further delay the Local Plan process.

“Our local plan has been robustly prepared taking account of evidence and we firmly believe it delivers growth in a sustainable way and helps safeguard our local environment and build strong communities.

“However, we respect the planning inspectors’ decision and we will continue to work hard to adopt the Charnwood Local Plan as soon as we can.”

Charnwood’s Local Plan 2021-37 provides a robust strategy for growth which simultaneously safeguards the environment and helps build healthy communities. It identifies how the borough will meet increased Government targets for new homes, as well as providing employment land and critical infrastructure.

For more information on the Local Plan, please visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/localplan.