Councillors have agreed to proactively work with other Leicestershire districts, the City Council and County Council on the distribution of new homes and employment land from Leicester.
Like all other councils, Blaby District Council is required to identify land for new homes and employment sites. The Council is set targets by the Government based on various factors such as population growth.
Under national planning law, Blaby District is required to look at taking on a share of unmet housing from Leicester, which does not have enough land to meet its growth targets. The Council is legally obliged to co-operate with other districts to meet this need.
To fulfil this requirement, the Leicester and Leicestershire Statement of Common Ground has been produced to distribute this unmet need of housing and employment land. At the Full Council meeting on 19 July, Councillors approved the intention to be the first council to sign the Statement of Common Ground.
The signed document increases Blaby District’s annual housing need for 2020-2036 from 346 homes to 687 homes per year, an increase in 346 homes annually. No additional employment land has been allocated to the area.
A comprehensive method to distribute the unmet need has been used to calculate the 346-home figure. The Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) looks at each council’s relationship with Leicester City, the balance of jobs and homes in each authority area and the ability for each area to deliver the additional allocation.
Signing the Statement of Common Ground will also help to protect the integrity of Blaby District Council’s Local Plan. Not undertaking proactive work could see any Local Plan fail at examination which may make the Council more vulnerable to speculative and unwanted planning applications.
Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “I want to reiterate that this is a significant challenge for all councils in Leicester and Leicestershire.
“This work needs to be undertaken proactively and in partnership with other councils. If we don’t do it, Central Government will do it for us, and this way gives us a lot more say than the alternative.
“I understand how people may feel when they see Blaby District taking the biggest number of homes from the unmet need, but significant technical work has been done to reach the initial distribution figure.
“It will also be important for the Government to recognise and support this joint working with the necessary funding of critical infrastructure, such as transport, schools and health provision to support the growth.”
“We are a Council that is prepared and strategic in its thinking and committed to shaping and making great places for our residents in the future. I am confident that any additional homes will be properly planned for so that we continue to do what is best for our local communities.”
More information about the Statement of Common Ground can be found on the dedicated website at https://www.llstrategicgrowthplan.org.uk/.