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Local Plan Committee to discuss community involvement, protection for green spaces and sites for Gypsies and Travellers

The newly formed Local Plan Committee (LPC) at North West Leicestershire District Council will look at consultation responses to a Local Plan review at its meeting on Wednesday 20 June. 

The committee, which has been given new decision-making powers following a review of the council’s planning function, will also look at a call for land for Gypsy and Traveller sites, and how the council can help communities to protect important green spaces. 

Local Plan review 

North West Leicestershire’s Local Plan was adopted in November 2017, along with a commitment to an immediate review to take account of changing local and national policies. 

Businesses and the public were asked to comment on which parts of the Local Plan should be reviewed. 

In total, 72 individuals and organisations responded to the Local Plan review consultation. Most were generally supportive of the review and agreed that the Local Plan should cover the period to 2036. 

Some developers suggested that the whole plan should be reviewed to take account of changes in government policy, rather than only some policies. The review of the area of separation between Coalville and Whitwick received a mix of support and opposition. 

The committee will consider the consultation responses and take advice on which areas of the Local Plan should be reviewed. 

Statement of Community Involvement 

The LPC will also be asked to support a consultation on a number of changes to the council’s Statement of Community Involvement, which sets out how the council will consult on planning with communities, businesses and organisations. 

The current Statement of Community Involvement was approved in 2015, but it needs to be updated due to national changes in policies and regulations.

Local Green Spaces 

Changes to national planning policies mean that communities can now identify green spaces that are considered to be locally important and make sure they are given special protection by designating it as a Local Green Space. 

Not all open areas will be suitable to be designated; communities must show that there is something special about a site for it to be given Local Green Space protection. 

The adopted Local Plan for North West Leicestershire does not currently include any Local Green Spaces. During his inspection the Planning Inspector suggested that a review could explore whether they should be included. 

LPC councillors will decide whether local communities should be asked to put forward potential Local Green Spaces for further consideration as part of the Local Plan review.

Sites for Gypsies and Travellers 

NWLDC has been working to identify potential sites to meet the needs of Gypsies and Travellers. 

A previous report due to go to Council in March identified two potential sites. Before the report could be considered, the council was made aware of the possibility that other potential sites might be available so the report was withdrawn. 

The LPC is being asked to agree to a further ‘call for sites’ to ensure that all possible sites have been considered before the council makes a decision on where to provide facilities for Gypsies and Travellers.

Councillor Trevor Pendleton, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Planning at NWLDC, said: “Changing the Local Plan Committee from an advisory body to a decision making body is important in making our planning process more robust. This shift shows the system is changing for the better throughout – from the point where we make our planning policies, right through to deciding on planning applications. 

“Councillors will discuss a number of important issues at the meeting; how we provide for Gypsies and Travellers in our district, how we help communities to protect their important green spaces and how we listen to those who comment on all aspects of planning across North West Leicestershire. This is all about making our planning system more engaging.”

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