Just an update on where we are, and what has happened since my last post.
The key points revolve around the East of Lutterworth SDA Community Partnership Group meeting that took place on August 1st 2019 - Lutterworth is represented by Cllr David Gair and myself, along with the four District Councillors for Lutterworth. HDC is represented by Cllr Phil King, Council Leader, and LCC is represented by Simon Lawrence who is heading the Lutterworth East project and reports to the Leicestershire County Council Chief Executive. Rosita Page, County Councillor, and members of other local councils also attend.
At this meeting, David Gair and myself continued to push the point regarding the positioning of the Spine Road, stating that there was an option available that provided the Spine Road that LCC needed, but also allowed traffic to by-pass Lutterworth. Cutting a very long story short, we were told in no uncertain terms by Cllr King that we had presented our case, that Leicestershire County Council had no intention of making any changes to the Spine Road, whether or not it helped Lutterworth, and that Harborough District Council had no power to force them to do so. Further, we were then told by our County Councillor, Rosita Page, that we should drop the subject, that the people of Lutterworth did not support the stance that we were taking, and that we should be talking about more important matters such as whether the new houses were to have solar panels or ground source heat pumps fitted. Cllr King then said that he would not want to see the subject of the Spine Road on the agenda for the meeting again. It is clear that Leicestershire County Council (and our County Councillor), and also Harborough District Council have no intention of listening to the views of the public on this matter, despite the 126 objections that have been placed on the HDC planning portal, the vast majority of which focus on this particular issue. While on that subject, you should be aware that Rosita Page, your County Councillor, is of the view that 126 objections (or to be fair 116 as it was at the time of the meeting) and no comments of support is no demonstration that the people Lutterworth are against the proposals, and indeed suggests that the people of Lutterworth SUPPORT the proposals. Apparently everyone she speaks to thinks it's a great idea. You may want to contact her if you don't agree firstname.lastname@example.org
The final point of the meeting is also something that you should be aware of. As you will know, Lutterworth Town Council issued a Public Notice in the Swift Flash telling residents what the new development would and would not bring, and advising them how to make a comment to both Town Council and District Council. Cllr King informed the meeting that he was of the view that the notice was an "advertisement" and was misleading, and that if it was repeated he would take action against the Town Council. Both David Gair and I challenged him, stating that firstly it was a Public Notice not an advertisement, secondly it was purely factual, and that his actions were an attempt to stop the Town Council informing the residents of the consequences of the development. For the record, every single point in the Public Notice has been proven to be factual, and can be backed up by either reference to the Local Plan, the Planning Application, or to government statistics.
We made the point that the Local Plan requires the planning application to have public support - none of which has been demonstrated. In response, Cllr King announced that this clause in the Local Plan was not part of "policy", it was merely part of the explanation of policy. Therefore, the planning application does not have to comply, and HDC's Planning Committee do not have to use it as a requirement of the planning application. Quite how an explanation of the policy can be disassociated from the policy itself is beyond me - a less sympathetic person might suggest that this is HDC trying to mislead the residents......
So, this is where we are at the moment. The planning application is likely to be considered by the Harborough Planning Committee towards the end of October. There is no likelihood of LCC adjusting their plans to help Lutterworth residents, and the chances of the Planning Committee refusing an application by Leicestershire County Council are, in my own view, slim to say the least. So I think that it's fair to say that the planning application as it stands will get passed.
Therefore, we need a slightly different approach. We need to hold Harborough District Council to account in ensuring that they apply the policies of the Local Plan - the policies that they said would stop rogue developments, the policies that Cllr King said they must adhere to, even if they were able to ignore the explanations!
So here's one to start with. Policy statement number 6 in Policy L1 - East of Lutterworth Strategic Development Area. The policy statement reads:
"Following completion of the spine road, in partnership with the County Highway Authority and the SDA promoters, the Council will develop traffic management measures that remove or minimise the passage of heavy goods vehicles through the centre of Lutterworth, as part of the implementation of an effective air quality mitigation strategy for the Air Quality Management Area in Lutterworth Town Centre".
That is the policy statement - not an explanation, a statement. So, a simple question.
"How? Where are the HGV's going to go?"
We await with interest to see how HDC and the promoters determine that this policy statement doesn't need to be complied with!!
More when I get it,