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October 2, 2023

Every local authority in England is supposed to have an up-to-date local plan which, amongst other matters, sets out how many new homes are needed and where they are to be built. Although housing markets and local economies rarely follow the administrative boundaries of councils, in most cases, local authorities work alone to prepare those plans.

The eight councils which make up Leicestershire are an exception, however, and have decided to closely cooperate to ensure the county’s development needs are met.

That decision is mainly due to the City of Leicester’s tightly drawn administrative boundaries, which are smaller than the built-up area of the city, significantly restricting the number of potential development sites. As a result, it is very difficult for the City Council to meet its housing need within that area. The problem is severe – even after maximising the amount of development from sites within its boundary, Leicester is about 18,700 homes short of its housing target.

The other seven local authorities in the council – North West Leicestershire, Charnwood, Melton, Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, Blaby and Hinckley and Bosworth – have agreed to help make up that shortfall by increasing their own housing targets. The detail of that agreement is set out in a Statement of Common Ground. Figure 1 shows how many homes each of those councils needs to deliver, as well as the extra homes they will be planning for to help our Leicester. Some of the increases are huge – Blaby and North West Leicestershire, for example, are almost doubling their own housing targets.

Figure 1: The housing target for each local authority in Leicestershire, and their agreed contribution to meeting the City of Leicester's housing shortfall.

To make sure those extra homes are delivered, these local authorities must identify more potential development sites than they would otherwise. Those sites will need to be allocated in a new local plan so even councils with a relatively up-to-date plan will have to prepare a new one.

Whenever councils are looking for new development sites, it is an opportunity for landowners. Land that adjoins an existing built-up area, has road access and is largely free of constraints (like flood risk or high ecological value) can be promoted as a potentially suitable housing site.

The Strategic Land Group has been successfully doing this for landowners for 15 years. Using a range of specialist surveys, we demonstrate to the council that your site is capable of being developed, and show why it is in a suitable location. Our aim is for the council to specifically allocate it for new housing in their new local plan, meaning a planning application is likely to be successful, before finding a developer to buy the site. We do all of that work at our cost and risk. Our fee is a share of the value of the site once it is sold to a home builder, so if we don’t succeed, it doesn’t cost you anything.

If you know of a site which you think might be suitable for development, get in touch today for a free, no-obligation assessment of your land.

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