Local Plan

Local Plan Update

Following the statement by the Inspector of the Local Plan HDC that Policy BE2 which allows further expansion at Magna Park is “not soundly prepared” the Executive met on Tuesday 13th November and agreed some amendments to the policy.  The Executive and officers an anxious to make these changes as quickly as possible and in doing so appear not to have complied with the requests of the Inspector to provide evidence of the need for further expansion along with evidence of benefits/harm caused to local communities.  On Monday 26th November the revised Local Plan will go to the full Council for approval and then out to the public for further consultation.

 

An inspector is currently examining the HDC Local Plan 2011-2031.  His job is not to say whether or not the council have made the right choices but whether the plan is “soundly prepared”.
On Wednesday 3rd October the Inspector focused on Policy BE2 – the policy that would allow expansion at Magna Park up to 700,000 sq. mts.
The Inspector stated that the inclusion of 700,000 sq mts was based on 3 planning applications from Gazeley and dbSymmetryand not on evidence of need.  This means that the plan is not positively prepared and the Inspector has therefore asked the council to go away and provide independent evidence of the need.
However the Inspector also conceded that as 400,000 sq mts (DHL site on Mere Lane and the Symmetry Park site) has already been approved we are really only discussing the final 300,000 sq mts.
The Inspector also questioned why the proposed site around Magna Park site was not an “allocation”.  This is a planning technicality but it does mean that if an allocation is made the council have to consult all stakeholders about the impact the allocation would have on them.  Stakeholders in this case would include residents, other local councils (Daventry were represented at the examination and were opposed to the expansion at Magna Park) and other developers (Prologis who were also at the examination to oppose further development).  HDC are to consider whether to make the Magna Park site an allocation.
The Inspector has therefore not accepted Policy BE2 and has asked HDC to do more work on the policy.  This is very different to his approach to other parts of the plan where changes are being agreed as the various policies are discussed.
After the examination the Inspector will write a report, changes will be made to the Local Plan and it will be resubmitted to the Inspector and the Council.   The public will be consulted on any changes.
It feels as if the Inspector has supported the stance that we have taken all along – that there is no proven need for such massive expansion at Magna Park.  However we can expect HDC to go away and provide evidence of the need.  

 

For other information on the Local Plan see links below 

http://www.harborough.gov.uk/local-plan

http://www.harborough.gov.uk/local-plan-examination

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Local Plan 2011-2031

Every local council is required by government to produce a Local Plan.

Harborough District Council states that “Our new Local Plan will set out planning policies in the district for the period from 2011 to 2031.

It will make sure development meets our strategic priorities through:

  • Policies to meet our future needs relating to areas such as housing, employment, community facilities, transport as well as infrastructure needed to support development
  • Strategic allocations of land to meet future needs
  • Policies to protect the local environment
  • Identifying the boundaries of strategic and local green space”

Currently HDC has a Core Strategy 2006-2028 that will be replaced by the new Local Plan when it has been agreed.

The Core Strategy 2006-2028 adopted on 14th November 2011 states:

Magna Park Strategic Distribution

h) Protect Magna Park’s unique role as a strategic distribution centre (B8 uses/min unit size 10,000m2) of national significance and an exemplar of environment performance. No further phase of development or large scale expansion of the site, beyond the existing development footprint (to be defined in the Allocations DPD) will be supported.

However this will be completely reversed by the Local Plan 2011-2031 which was submitted to HM Inspectors in March 2018.  The plan proposes the following:

BE2 Strategic distribution

  1. Magna Park, as identified on the Policies Map, is safeguarded for strategic storage and distribution (Class B8). Proposals for redevelopment at the existing site will be permitted where:
    1. each unit has at least 9,000 sq.m. gross floorspace; and
    2. any new building or the change of use of an existing building(s) is for Class B8 and ancillary use only; or
    3. the proposal for any non-strategic storage and distribution use is small-scale, proportionate in scale to the strategic storage and distribution use and ancillary to the use of individual plots.
  2. Additional development of up to 700,000 sq.m. for non rail-served strategic storage and distribution (Class B8) use will be permitted where it would:
    1. form an extension of, or be on a site adjoining, Magna Park;
    2. support or at least have no adverse impact on the viability and deliverability of existing or further Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SFRIs) within or serving neighbouring authorities and Leicestershire;
    3. increase employment opportunities for local residents, including training and apprenticeships;
    4. include measures to enable an increase in the proportion of the workforce commuting from locations within Harborough District;
    5. not lead to severe traffic congestion anywhere on the nearby strategic and local road network, particularly the A5, whether within Harborough District or outside; and
    6. ensure 24 hour operations do not have an unacceptable environmental, community or landscape impact in the immediate and wider surrounding area.

By coincidence 700,000 square meters it is almost the same as the total space defined in the two outstanding planning applications:

dbSymmetry:        Symmetry Park:                    15/00865/OUT:        279,000 sq mts

IDI Gazeley:          Magna Park North:              15/01531/OUT:        433,000 sq mts

The Council agreed to submit the Local Plan 2011-2031 to the Government Inspector at an Extraordinary Council meeting on Monday 5th March 2018.  From here the timetable is:

  • March 2018: Submission of Local Plan to Secretary of State for public examination
  • Summer 2018: Examination hearing
  • October 2018: Receipt of inspector’s report
  • December 2018: Adoption of the Local Plan

We have, therefore, one last chance to influence development at Magna Park.  That will be during the Inspection which takes place in public and will be undertaken in summer 2018.  All the views expressed during the process of producing the Local Plan, including residents’ views expressed during the two consultation periods, will be considered by the Inspector.  MPisBE also hopes to attend the inspection meetings and further emphasise residents’ views about the impact of further development at Magna Park.

Facebook:     Magna Park is Big Enough

Website:        www.mpisbe.org

Further information:

Core Strategy 2006 – 2028

Local Plan 2011-2031