Progress on a new Local Plan, which will shape future development in the borough up until 2036, has reached a key stage.
A number of technical ‘evidence base’ documents, which will be used in the preparation of Melton Council’s Preferred Options (Draft Local Plan), were unanimously approved at a full meeting of the authority last Wednesday.
The evidence will also now be a material consideration in determining planning applications.
One of the reports showed that over the 20 years from 1994 to 2014 a total of 55 per cent of development was focused on Melton compared to 45 per cent in the villages.
But it’s suggested an extra 10 per cent of development should be concentrated on Melton over the 25 years from 2011 to 2036.
The housing target for the borough (2011-2036) is 245 homes a year. But a shortfall of homes built since 2011 means that’s likely to rise to nearer 300.
Melton Warwick ward councillor Tom Greenow was concerned about the suggested 10 per cent rise in development to be focused on Melton.
Bottesford ward councillor Pru Chandler, who is chairwoman of the Melton Local Plan working group, said: “Some villages can take development but you have to realise they don’t have the infrastructure.”
In February the Melton Times reported on the results of a public consultation on the second stage in the preparation of the new Local Plan - ‘Melton Local Plan Issues and Options’ .
The question which got the most responses asked residents how growth should be distributed in the borough, with most saying it should be concentrated on the town though many voiced concerns that Melton can’t take more housing until a bypass is provided.
In terms of large-scale development sites, one of the evidence reports said it had been assessed that the proposed Melton North and Melton South ‘sustainable urban extensions’ offered the ‘best opportunities to provide strategic scale growth and were ‘most able to deliver the outstanding requirements for new housing and employment development’.
The Preferred Options (Draft Local Plan) is due to be considered by the council in October. There will be a 12-week public consultation on the document.
There would then be further stages in the Local Plan development process, including external examination by an inspector, with the plan expected to be adopted by Melton Council in 2017.