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The shape of things to come?


Good Morning All,

The excitement (??!!) over the elections has now died down, and we are all returning to our normal lives (who writes this rubbish??).

Just thought that I would bring things back to the reason that this site exists, and that is the Local Plan and the Lutterworth East Planning Application (19/00250/OUT). The reason that I include both is that, as you have probably picked up, it is almost impossible to slide a piece of paper between the two of them, they are so similar. It is indeed a bit concerning that the Local Plan (HDC's mechanism for controlling planning applications) provides for pretty much everything that LCC want to do within their planning application. Please remember - the planning application was submitted BEFORE the Local Plan was finalised and approved, and BEFORE the Inspector gave his final comments. Strangely, anything that was in the Local Plan and that hindered the planning application BEFORE it was finalised seems to have disappeared afterwards.

Want specifics?

Well, the Local Plan had made reference to the Eastern Relief Road, and the opportunity to provide traffic relief to Lutterworth. The Inspector said that it would be unreasonable for the development to do this (despite previously insisting that HDC demonstrate how they will remove HGVs from the A426), so HDC then removed all references to the Eastern Relief road, replacing it with reference to the Spine Road that is not intended as a relief road, but that "may" provide some relief. Meanwhile, in Policy IN1, proposals are in place to reduce the impact of HGVs within Market Harborough, suggesting a town wide environmental weight restriction, but identifying two key routes that would benefit. Nothing for Lutterworth though. (Page 148 of the Local Plan if you are interested - and I am, and I will continue to be).

Try this one for size. You may remember that at the September 2018 exhibition of the masterplan, there was a suggestion that the Leisure Centre would be demolished, and the College would be extended, with a replacement Leisure Centre being built on the other side of the M1. This was addressed at the hearing in October, and the Inspector said that the Leisure Centre was the geographical and social centre of Lutterworth, and any reference to the Leisure Centre must be removed from the Local Plan - it was not within it's remit, and any proposals regarding the Leisure Centre must be part of a separate consultation with residents. So, what do we find on page 197 of the plan that was approved by HDC? As follows:

"15.2.17 The existing Leisure Centre in Lutterworth will reach the end of its life within the plan period (ie by 2031) and would in any event be unlikely to be adequate to serve the expanded population. A contribution will therefore be sought towards a new Leisure Centre, which could be, in full or in part, in the form of land within the community park or elsewhere"

Just for clarity, the planning application identifies land for a new Leisure Centre. So, enjoy it while you've got it folks - regardless of whether you want it or not, or whether the Inspector made comment or not, they propose to close the Leisure Centre within the next 12 years, and ask you to travel over the M1 to get to its replacement. No opinions expressed here - merely stating what the Local Plan says.

Finally (for the moment), you may remember that I warned people regarding the Community Facilities that the planning application promised, in that the narrative changed from "will include the following" to "will include some or all of the following". My concern was that there was no certainty about what we were getting, and I think I likened it to "the cheque's in the post". Well, guess what, my understanding is that during a meeting on Friday 10th May with Peter Miller, CEO Leicestershire Partnership Trust and also Tim Sacks, COO for East Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group, they indicated that there was no intention on their behalf to seek the provision of additional Doctors Surgeries within the new, proposed, Lutterworth East development. Therefore, the commitment within Policy L1 for additional Doctors Surgeries looks unlikely to be fulfilled.

So, within 12 days of the Local Plan being adopted, HDC have reneged on the instruction to leave the Leisure Centre out of the plan, and the probability of an additional Doctors practice to serve the new development has largely been removed. Apart from anything else, the traffic implications of these two moves are not included in the LCC forecasts, so as bad as they were, traffic will now get even worse on the Leicester Road (remember the planning application includes the closure of Gilmorton Road).

I will let you know of any further developments as and when I become aware of them.

Meanwhile, I have asked that the above two points are put on the agenda for a meeting that David Gair and I have with HDC and LCC (The East of Lutterworth SDA Community Partnership Group) so that we can challenge them on Lutterworth's behalf. This meeting has yet to have a date, but I will let you know.

Finally, there is one thing that has been left in the Local Plan. That is that, in clause 15.2.2 on page 193, it says that the Strategic Development Area (Lutterworth East) "...should be in accordance with a masterplan that is produced with the full engagement of the existing community of Lutterworth and which has the support of the population through a consultation process as part of either a Supplementary Planning Document, a Neighbourhood Plan or a planning application". Therefore, if the population doesn't support the planning application, then this clause is not complied with.

Therefore, if you haven't recorded your views on the planning website, please take a few minutes to do so. The link is here - you will just need to register and then you can write whatever you want (but you have a 10,000 word limit). Please share this with your friends who may not see this site - out of 7,000 people who are on the Lutterworth and Misterton electoral registers, less than 75 have made comments. We won't get anything changed if it stays like that, but if we can demonstrate that the people of Lutterworth DO NOT support the planning application as it is, then we may be able to force something beneficial for the town. We might need houses, but we DON'T need the consequences , especially as they can be designed away. We certainly DON'T need more warehouses next to the M1!

We may fail, but I'd rather fail having done everything that we can, than wonder whether we could have succeeded if only we had done something.

Cheers,

Richard


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