Planning Application Deferred
You will all be aware that the planning application for Lutterworth East was deferred by the Planning Committee. The main publicised reason was the (very) late legal challenge by University Hospitals Leicester (UHL) with regard to their application for Section 106 money to off set the impact on the health service of an additional increase in local population. The figure in question was circa £1m - Leicestershire County Council had decided that the payment was not warranted, and consequently UHL got the lawyers involved.
However, the other reason for deferral was that only three members of the planning committee had actually visited the site prior to making their decision. Of those three, one was "amazed" at the scale of the development, one was surprised at the amount of noise coming from the M1 despite it only running at 20% to 30% capacity, and the third agreed with both, and helpfully pointed out to officials that committee members MUST visit the site in person in order to appreciate the scale of noise from the M1. A visit for all members is being arranged, and the planning decision was deferred - the rumour is that it will be re-presented in July.
I have written to the Chairman of the Planning Committee, and also to the HDC Development Planning Manager, Adrian Eastwood, asking that any visit takes place AFTER the M1 is back to full volume so that the full impact of the noise can be appreciated, and also that councillors from local towns and villages are allowed to attend to provide some balance. Currently, only planning committee, officers (who are in favour of the development) and District Ward members would be allowed to join the visit. We will see what the response is.
Meanwhile, we have had a lot of comments from people regarding air quality - the unanimous view currently is that air quality has improved since we have been in lockdown. Probably not surprising, however it is key in order to demonstrate the immediate improvement that a serious reduction in traffic can cause. There is a poll on the Lutterworth Town facebook page (in my name) asking people to comment on whether or not they have experienced an improvement in air quality, and whether or not they have a respiratory condition - please take time to place your vote, and then please share it with friends. The bigger the response that we get the easier it will be to use the results as part of our on-going campaign. I have also asked the HDC Contaminated Land and Air Quality Officer when the latest nitrous oxide figures for Lutterworth town centre will be published. The last figures relate to January (and weren't particularly good), but I'm expecting a great improvement coinciding with lockdown. All grist to the mill...
Time really is of the essence now - if the application comes back in July we have only about 9 weeks to pull the final arguments together. We are still hoping to persuade the planning committee that, while we accept that the housing will happen (if they rejected it, it is bound to be approved on appeal) there is something very positive that could be done for the development and for Lutterworth in selecting a spine road option that would allow for traffic to by-pass Lutterworth and the new development itself. This option is "Option 1".
So, if you are still bored by lockdown, for the sake of 5 minutes sending an email you could write to the members of the planning committee and tell them what you think. One email, copied to all of them would be fine! By the purest of coincidences, I think that their email addresses are at the bottom of this page, including those of substitutes that were used at the last meeting. Not the faintest idea how they got there...........
All the best,