A new tool which would cut planning red tape and make it easier for food and farming businesses wanting to invest and grow is being developed by Melton Council.
The council is applying for £50,000 funding from the Government’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) towards the development of a local development order.
The order would effectively allow certain types of development, specified by the council, to go ahead without the need for a developer to submit a planning application.
But Jim Worley, the council’s head of regulatory services, stressed the order wouldn’t result in a ‘planning free-for-all’, explaining it would ‘specify the extent of permitted development by size, location and type and use conditions to ensure the appropriate environmental protection and provision of facilities’.
It would also be the subject of consultation within the industry and be accompanied by guidance notes explaining the scope and limitations.
The council’ rural, economic and environmental affairs committee gave its backing to the development of the order at a meeting last Wednesday.
Mr Worley described the order - which would last two years and cover the whole borough - as a ‘key to the door of wider economic development’. He added: “It’s a key opportunity to boost employment but also to generate opportunities for entrepreneurs and to develop skills, all of which would impact positively on the borough’s economy.”
Councillor Mal Sheldon said: “I think we should be proud of this and encourage it at every level. It will secure jobs.”
Committee chairman Joe Orson said he was also excited about the project, adding that he could see ‘massive advantages’ regarding phase two of the Melton Cattle Market regeneration scheme - which will involve the development of an ‘opportunity area’ for food and drink and related rural activities.
As previously reported in the Melton Times the local development order would help the borough to secure ‘food enterprise zone’ status, opening up new opportunities for food and farming businesses to access funding and support.
Food and drink businesses which would like more information can email firstname.lastname@example.org