Leicestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan proposals questioned

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 14:41


CPRE Leicestershire hosted a successful and informative meeting on the Plan for CPRE members and Parish Council representatives at Great Glen Village Hall on 20th February 2018.


The meeting was an important part of CPRE’s efforts to alert the public to the serious implications of this plan for Leicestershire’s countryside and to urge the wider public to respond to the current consultation and to communicate their concerns to councillors and MPs.
The meeting featured speakers from CPRE nationally and locally, who together talked about the key proposals in the Plan and outlined CPRE concerns, and a local County Councillor who provided a local perspective.


An Unbalanced Plan
Tony Stott, Chair of the Branch’s Strategic Plan Task Group, argued the plan was unbalanced as it concentrated on economic growth, road building and extensive new housing developments on greenfield locations with little regard for its impact on countryside, environment and rural communities.


Tony also indicated that CPRE had serious concerns about the process for developing the plan and suggested that there should be an opportunity, as part of the process, to scrutinise and challenge the plan before an independent inspector at an Examination in Public (EIP).


Focus on Technical Considerations
Gerald Kells, a consultant working for CPRE Leicestershire, took the audience through a number of significant technical points. These included the need to challenge demographic, housing need and housing supply forecasts as well as the figures for sized and number of logistics sites. 


Gerald also expressed concerns over the lack of a transport assessment of the implications of the proposed A 46 Expressway, especially what happens to the local road network when people leave the new road.


National and Local Perspectives
Paul Miner, from CPRE National Office, spoke of the need for to be a proper Sustainability Appraisal. He also warned that a lack of Government funding for the expressway could mean that the county could get the housing without the road.


Local County Councillor, Simon Galton, pointed out that Harborough District was being asked to double its existing housing provision of 36,000 homes, which will place a huge strain on its infrastructure.  He was concerned that the district could end with significantly higher housing figures even if the road did not materialise.


Audience Concerns
A number of concerns came out in the Q and A session.

 
Concern over the expressway proposal was very clear and dominated the session, especially as the proposed route was unclear. In connection with this road, there were worries about exact nature of the road, the connections to local roads, its impact on the highly sensitive landscape of High Leicestershire, and rat runs through villages.


There was also concern over the lack of detail over road proposals, housing sites and over the documents missing from the consultation evidence base.  The question was asked: how can we be consulted on something with no detail and respond without knowing what the plans are?

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