Planning Application - HDC Review
A report that was released on 4th June may give hope to those wanting a by-pass for Lutterworth.
Harborough District Council employed a company called "the Landscapepartners" to review the hybrid planning application for Lutterworth East, and their report offers expert opinion regarding the routing of the proposed "Spine Road".
In a section dedicated to the Spine Road (page 23), they point out that four options were considered by Leicestershire County Council. Option 1 was for a routing of the Spine Road that was more closely aligned with the M1 (a routing that could effectively be used as a by-pass with minimal impact on the new development), and "the Landscapepartners" commented on the value of this option as follows:
It would reduce the severance of the new community by combining the two main north south transport corridors together in one zone (M1 and Spine Road)
The route would reduce the need for multiple access points
The route would aid the flow of traffic from the A4304 to the A426
It would enable improved air quality and lower speeds within the main (new) residential area
It would ensure that the closest housing was set further from the M1
It would reduce the effects on the setting of Misterton Church, and Historic England have asked for this route to be evaluated
It points out that in this option, the Spine Road could form a more efficient relief road for Lutterworth
It points out that the LCC Environmental Assessment discussed the disadvantages of Option 1, but failed to acknowledge any of the advantages
However, they note that despite the obvious advantages of Option 1, LCC chose to run with Option 4. The report comments on Option 4 as follows:
It is reasonably direct
It creates a number of residential cells between the M1 and the Spine Road which would be less desirable due to the presence of two noise sources
This option pulls the purpose and functionality of the route in two contrasting directions
If it is to be a true High Street, then it needs more frontage activity, a reduced 20mph speed limit near the school and greater pedestrian and cycle priority
If it is to provide efficient relief to Lutterworth, then it would be better placed towards the edge of the development to allow for faster and more efficient movement of traffic.
The report suggests that it tries to do two things, and fails in both
The report states that the promoters should demonstrate where other, similar approaches to the Spine Road (with similar traffic flows) have been used in order to understand the likely character of the result. This is essential as it will set the tine of the new community. The report also notes that while all four options were modelled by LCC, only models for Option 4 have been made available, and have asked that the location of the equivalent models for Option 1 be made known to them.
This is by no means an end to the issue, as the report is advisory to HDC only, however it does give clear expert advice that perhaps the wrong option has been included in the planing application.
We will see where this takes us, however we will be using the report in discussions with both HDC and LCC in the coming months. For those interested, the report is in the Documents Section on the planning portal, dated 4th June, and is accessible here.