Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 16 September 2022
HINCKLEY and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) have pledged that they are to continue their work on progressing with their Local Plan.
They have revealed that they are to carry on with the Plan following a consultation on a submission draft which was published in February at the start of the year.
A Borough Council spokesperson described the Local Plan as ‘crucial’ for the borough, especially when it comes to planning and controlling what can be built, and where.
The Plan sets out preferred locations for new housing and employment.
It also includes several planning policies, including conserving and enhancing the environment, sustainable transport, and addressing the ‘growing issue’ of climate change.
The Borough Council were in the process of preparing to submit the Plan to Government for Examination following consultation in March this year.
But, after following legal advice, they were “forced” to delay submission until next year, in 2023.
They have stated the following points as the reasoning for the push back:
• The revised methodology published late March by the Government has increased the numbers of new homes the council must plan for to meet revised affordability requirements.
• The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill published by Government sets out changes in respect to the ‘Duty to Co-operate’ with adjacent councils and is expected to be replaced by a new ‘Alignment Test’. However, no details of this new test have been announced, leaving uncertainty about how councils should treat the housing and employment needs of other areas.
• A promised new national ‘Prospectus’ for changes to the National Planning Policy Framework has yet to be published – This could have significant implications for how Local Plans are progressed.
• Statements made by the new Prime Minister in the run up to her appointment have indicated a removal of the requirement for housing targets, the ‘duty to co-operate’ and the requirements to maintain a five-year housing supply.
• Clarification of the number of additional houses that HBBC would be required to accommodate from Leicester City’s target has also since been published.
Coun. David Bill, Executive Member for Planning at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, said: “We are committed to plan for the future needs of our residents but wish to ensure the new homes and employment sites are in the right places with the right infrastructure.
“We are currently working in very uncertain times and we want to get things right.
“We are therefore pausing the submission of our Plan to Government pending the commissioning of further work to address new and emerging requirements to give agencies like the County Council time to complete their assessment on matters such as highway impacts, educational needs which they have said will take them well into next year.
“In the meantime, we will continue to support development proposals that meet our current requirements but continue to reject inappropriate development schemes.”