Charnwood Borough Council has set out its vision to make Charnwood one of the most desirable places to live, work and visit in the East Midlands.

The Charnwood Local Plan provides a strategy to accommodate the development required to support growth in the borough up to 2037.

The Local Plan is a strategic framework to deliver some of the Council’s key objectives by creating a thriving economy with healthy communities and environmental safeguards.

It also sets out how the borough will provide employment land and meet demand for infrastructure including roads and schools - as well as meeting increased Government targets for new homes.

Government requires that 1,111 homes be built annually in Charnwood between 2021 and 2037. A change in the central formula has resulted in a slight increase on the 1,082 homes required by Government at the time of the draft Local Plan consultation. In total, 17,776 homes must now be built in Charnwood by 2037.

The majority of those homes, around 10,603, will come from existing planning permissions which have yet to be built. These include large urban extensions which have been approved for the west of Loughborough (Garendon Park), north of Birstall (Broadnook) and north-east of Leicester (Thorpebury). 

The Local Plan sets out how the remainder of housing need will be largely met through the extension of existing urban areas and larger villages. In doing so, the Local Plan remains sensitive to the borough’s environment while meeting the Council’s objectives of delivering a thriving economy with healthy communities.

Concentration of new development will protect nearly 279 square kilometres of open countryside. This includes green wedges and open spaces between settlements. Through careful planning of development locations, the Local Plan meets the population mass needed to secure five new schools and extend one more. It also means that health services will be expanded and roads upgraded. 

The Council will stage a six-week consultation with residents, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders before submitting the Local Plan to the Secretary of State. Once agreed by the Planning Inspectorate, the document will replace the current Charnwood Local Plan Core Strategy 2011-2028.

A draft Local Plan was considered during a six-week public consultation in 2019. Hundreds of people and organisations made representations and more than 1,000 pages of responses were subsequently published and responded to by the Council. 


The draft Local Plan consultation response helped the Council shape this updated Local Plan. It will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and sets out how the Council will balance the need for growth with environmental safeguards while providing communities with the infrastructure needed to prosper. It includes:

  • Flexible employment space for the 8,900 jobs needed in the borough through to 2037

  • Locations for the sustainable and well-designed housing required to meet the Government target for 1,111 new homes in Charwood each year

  • Clear focus on the environment and preserving biodiversity, as well as creating healthier communities and supporting retail and leisure

  • Careful consideration of the effects of climate change and how to manage the risk of flooding

  • Policies that will support development of infrastructure and services including schools, health facilities, district centres, bus and cycle routes, and roads

  • Supporting growth through the borough’s strategic infrastructure, including Loughborough University and its science and enterprise park, the urban edge of Leicester, and the International Gateway connection to the M1 and East Midlands Airport

  • Preservation of heritage sites and the distinct design characteristics of villages and towns

  • Support for community involvement through Neighbourhood Plans and other forums as a method of setting local priorities.

Other measures set out in the strategy are below.


  • Development of Loughborough as the economic, social and cultural heart of the borough. Focus on new homes as well as developing a town centre offer with a diverse mix of uses including retail, residential, leisure, office and professional services

  • Regeneration and growth around the edge of Leicester, as the county’s central city, and additional focus on Shepshed as part of the town’s ongoing regeneration and its role as the county’s international gateway

  • Delivery of 8,355 new homes, plus schools and associated infrastructure, in the three Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) which have already been approved for Garendon Park, Broadnook and Thorpebury

  • Additional development will be divided between Leicester’s urban edge at Birstall, Thurmaston and Syston (2,104 homes), Loughborough (2,242 homes), Shepshed (1,878 homes), large villages, (1,819 homes) and small villages (815 homes)

  • The majority of new housing in larger villages split between Anstey (647 homes), Barrow (703 homes) and Sileby (345 homes). Focus of development to provide the critical mass of homes needed to secure infrastructure, such as schools and roads, to meet existing and future demand

  • New primary schools planned for Anstey, Barrow, Loughborough, Shepshed and Syston. Partnership working on a new school for Glenfield. Extension of the existing school at Cossington to support development at Sileby

  • Allocation of 81 hectares of employment land, including 15 hectares of office space and 66 hectares of light industrial land, across Farendon Park, Broadnook and Thorpebury, plus other sites including Watermead Business Park and Dishley Grange

  • Allocation of 73 hectares of land for the long-term expansion of Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) to support investment, innovation and high-technology jobs

  • Various enterprise development initiatives are included to support growing businesses. These include flexible office and managed workspace, live/work units, small business units and freehold industrial units. Superfast broadband required for all new homes and employment land

  • Support for the rural economy with environmentally-sensitive small-scale business expansion and farm diversification through conversion of existing buildings.


  • Development targeted away from areas of high environmental value. Policies directed towards protecting biodiversity and increasing resilience to climate change. Encouragement for developments which create new habitats, including woodlands and wetlands, tree planting schemes, and reconnection of rivers to natural flood plains

  • Protection of the intrinsic character of the countryside through Green Wedges and Areas of Local Separation. Protection of key wildlife biodiversity areas such as Watermead Country Park, Great Central Railway, the River Soar and Grand Union Canal Corridor. Clear definition of the Charnwood Forest Regional Park and National Forest

  • Development directed to areas with lowest risk of flooding. Policies to prevent development of greenfield sites from increasing surface water run-off. Flood risk management built into new developments to support existing communities and the environment. Sustainable drainage systems to manage water flows while providing benefits for amenity, recreation and wildlife

  • Support for a carbon neutral borough. Policies to improve air quality by encouraging sustainable new developments, with extensive tree planting required for public spaces on new developments. Support for communities to identify opportunity areas for wind and solar energy infrastructure

  • Proposed measures to minimise need for travel by private car and prioritise public transport, walking and cycling. Improved bus services to offer increased speed and reliability, including for residents with mobility issues. A significant increase in electric vehicle charging points, including at each new home with a parking space

  • Areas designated and mapped out as countryside, areas of local separation, green wedges and Charnwood Forest Regional Park. Wildlife corridors at sites including Charnwood Forest, the Grand Union Canal and the River Soar. A parkland setting for the LUSEP extension. Improved connectivity between Watermead Country Park and Thurmaston to support public access to the 144-hectare site and regeneration of the Thurmaston local centre.


  • Protections for existing facilities promoting healthy communities, open space, sport and recreation. A requirement for new facilities, such as open spaces and recreation areas, in planned larger developments. Support for development that provides financial contributions towards indoor sports facilities to encourage healthier lifestyles and increase regular physical activity. Public access to new indoor sports facilities within school and college sites through community use agreements

  • Work to meet the need for 476 new rentable affordable homes each year. An affordable housing requirement of 30% in all major developments. An exception for brownfield sites, where the requirement will be reduced to 10% to encourage regeneration. A mix of housing types, tenures and sizes to meet the needs of an ageing population. Support for new homes that meet wheelchair accessibility standards and the needs of older people

  • Tighter restrictions on applications for new and larger Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to reduce over-concentration and improve social cohesion. New purpose-built student accommodation on university and college campuses or accessible nearby locations

  • Measures to maintain street-level frontages and historic shopfronts to attract activity to town and local centres. Proposals resulting in clusters of hot food takeaways will not be supported

  • Support for development which provides financial contributions towards healthcare infrastructure. Partnership with clinical commissioning groups on facilities minimise distances to be travelled. Healthcare provision as part of the Baxter Gate/Pinfold Gate development in Loughborough town centre

  • Preservation of the character and identity of villages through areas of separation between settlements. Policies for the protection of and improvements to community facilities including historic and community public houses, indoor sport, leisure and cultural centres, places of worship, doctor’s surgeries and health centres, crèches, playgroups, libraries, schools and other facilities

  • Protection for historic features including the setting of the deserted medieval village and Roman Villa at Barkby Thorpe. Garendon Park and Garden opened for public access and the Grade II-listed monuments and parkland restored and managed

  • Improved network of public rights of way between Charnwood Forest and nearby settlements. A network of off-road links for walkers, cyclists and horse riding, as well as improved access for people with mobility issues

  • Local communities supported to prepare Neighbourhood Plans to make evidence-based policies relating to sites for employment and housing as well as affordability and availability to local people

Last updated: Mon 12th July, 2021 @ 09:28