Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 25 March 2022
A KEY planning document that will guide the future development of the Hinckley and Bosworth area up until 2039 has hit a major milestone this week.
Earlier on in the year, borough residents, community groups, local businesses, and others were asked to give their views on the pre-submitted version of the Borough Council’s ‘Local Plan’ document.
The Local Plan document sets out ‘preferred’ locations for housing and economic growth.
A number of planning policies were included, such as conserving and enhancing the natural and historic environment, sustainable transport, good design, and responding to climate change challenges.
The consultation period has since ended and the responses have been considered by Council chiefs.
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) can now move forward in submitting the Local Plan for formal submission to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination in Public, giving that no further national guidance or additional requirements are imposed by the Government.
This marks the last stage in the statuory process that must be completed by Councils beore the Local Plan can become a part of the Council’s future framework for decision making on planning.
Coun. David Bill, the Borough Council’s Executive Member for Planning, stated that HBBC have ‘worked hard to progress’ the plan to the Governnment’s deadlines.
Bill further mentioned that the local authority has been supported by senior Government officials over their approach and progress on their Plan.
But, Councillor Bill has claimed that he is ‘dismayed’ by a recent article by Hinckley and Bosworth’s Tory Member of Parliament, Dr. Luke Evans.
He explained: “I was dismayed to read the recent article featured by our local MP Dr Luke Evans about the borough Local Plan.
“He knows from recent correspondence with the council and advice from senior officers the Council has been making good progress on its Local Plan which has even been acknowledged by the Government’s own senior officials.
“He has kindly offered further support from the Government.
“It might be appropriate that this support is directed to the County Council who are raising concerns over its own capacity to respond to our draft Local Plan on key matters such as education and highways infrastructure.
“We call on all partners who wish to help protect our communities from unwarranted development to engage in constructive dialogue with us to ensure the Local Plan is in place as soon as statutory deadlines allow.
“With that in place, we can guide development to the areas where it is desperately needed and protect the areas where it is not.
He went on: “This is a real concern to all of us given the housing numbers the government is requiring this council to accommodate across the plan period (2020-39).
“We must accommodate a minimum of 9,124 dwellings to meet the housing requirements in the period from now to 2039 and the draft Local Plan sets out the strategy for how we can do this.
Bill concluded: “I would like to add that the overwhelming feedback we receive from people is that there is insufficient infrastructure to support this growth. We alone as a district council cannot change infrastructure at this level, only government intervention can do this.
“That is why we call upon our MP to lobby for these changes and argue the case for the much-needed infrastructure improvements that will support this growth. The recent abandonment of the A5 scheme by the government shows what we are up against.”