Councillors last night (Wednesday) agreed the final details of the Melton Local Plan, which governs development across the borough for the next 20 years.
The plan will now be sent to the government before an inspector considers it at a public hearing, which is likely to be held early next year.
Discussions began on the document three years ago and two public consultations have prompted hundreds of comments from residents, business people and representatives of agencies and local authorities.
If the plan is adopted it will lead to the building of 6,125 homes in the borough up to 2036 at a rate of 245 properties a year, with 65 per cent of them in the town and the remainder in villages.
Some members at last night’s full council meeting said too many of the homes were earmarked for rural communities which did not have the infrastructure to cope with them.
But others urged the plan should be agreed because the lack of a development framework was leaving the council open to planning applications for housing developments with no effective means of refusing them.
It was also argued that the level of new housing was needed to help pay, via developer contributions, for the proposed Melton distributor road, to the east of the town, to alleviate traffic congestion.
Councillor Leigh Higgins, deputy leader of the council, told the meeting: “If we do not approve the plan tonight it will mean that every piece of land is technically available for development and I don’t want to see that happen in my village or any other village.”
He added: “It is important to note that this is not the end of the debate - at the public examination we do invite people to come forward and put their views to the inspector.
“But if the Local Plan is then thrown out we will probably face another three or four-year journey towards putting together a new one.”
The plan, if approved at the public examination, will then likely be adopted by the council next summer.
More to follow.