The adoption of the Melton Local Plan is to be further delayed after a government inspector suggested a package of modifications following the public examination hearing three months ago.
A six-week public consultation into the proposed changes will now be launched from May 10 into the document, which will determine development opportunities and policies across the town and borough for the next 20 years.
Planning Inspector Mary Travers found that changes to Melton Council’s plan were needed to make it sound, after she sat through the two-week public hearing and visited relevant sites and locations.
Among her recommendations was that a ‘stepped’ approach to housing delivery should be followed to ensure that levels of building will not significantly increase in the early years after adoption of the plan until the new housing starts to come forward from both of the town’s sustainable neighbourhoods.
There are some specific modifications she would like to see made, such as the addition to the plan of a housing development site at Hoby Road, Asfordby, and the removal of a previously designated site on Sandpit Lane, Long Clawson.
Melton Council deputy leader, Councillor Leigh Higgins, said the authority welcomed the modifications put forward by Mrs Travers.
He said: “These, together with a schedule of minor modifications and changes to the policies map being proposed by the council, will now be the subject of six weeks consultation which we are arranging at present.
“Many issues were contested at the examination and we are pleased that the main modifications proposed are limited in their number and significance.
“When complete the Local Plan will provide certainty for communities regarding how planning applications will be assessed.”
The main modifications suggested by the Inspector, Mary Travers:
• A ‘stepped’ approach to housing delivery in recognition that levels of building will not significantly increase in the early years after adoption of the Plan until the new housing starts to come forward from both of the sustainable neighbourhoods;
• More specific monitoring and review processes to check the progress of the Plan and measures to be taken if housing and infrastructure is not provided as expected;
• Allowance for housing sites already identified in Neighbourhood Plans which have completed Examination to be treated in the same way as those in the Local Plan;
• The addition of a housing site at Hoby Rd, Asfordby;
• The deletion of a housing site at Sandpit Lane, Long Clawson;
• Stronger requirement to mitigate the impact of the South Sustainable Neighbourhood and Distributer Road on the St Mary and St. Lazarus Hospital Scheduled Ancient Monument near Burton Lazars;
• Stronger guidance on when unallocated sites will be permitted, related to them having to prove need otherwise unfulfilled;
• Clearer guidance on how the Council will continue to support and work alongside Neighbourhood Plan Groups to help to get Neighbourhood Plans adopted;
• Stronger emphasis on what will be done to improve retailing in Melton Mowbray Town Centre;
• Clarification on what contributions will be sought from development to expand schools (where necessary).