The Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan sets out the county’s growth ambitions until 2050. While the document would be non-statutory, it would be used as the basis for the preparation of statutory local plans and would support bids for government infrastructure funding.
It has been developed by the county’s nine local authorities and its local enterprise partnership (LEP), the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
It has now been agreed by a members’ advisory group representing all the partners, but the county's local authorities will hold further individual votes on approving the plan.
The plan estimates that Leicestershire needs 96,850 homes and up to 423 hectares of employment land to accommodate growth until 2031 - figures already accommodated for within the county’s adopted and emerging local plans.
Need for a further 90,500 homes and additional employment land has been identified beyond 2031. Local plans will deal with detailed site allocations for these homes.
The document says that housing need was calculated using the government's proposed standard method. It says that calculations made using that method revealed a scale of need "very similar" to a study carried out by the plan partners.
However, the document says that "should circumstances change in future, we can update housing need and supply through statements of common ground and/or a review of the Strategic Growth Plan".
Planned infrastructure improvements outlined in the document include the A46 Expressway, a new link road that would connect strategic highways to the west of Leicester with the M1 and A46 to the north-east of the city.
Key growth areas identified in the plan are the city of Leicester, the corridor around the proposed new link road, and an area near East Midlands Airport in the north of the county dubbed the ‘Leicestershire International Gateway’.
According to a Leicester City Council statement, plans for a ‘southern gateway’ close to the Magna Park logistics estate in the south of the county have been dropped after feedback from a county-wide consultation.
Trevor Pendleton, chair of the Strategic Growth Plan Members’ Advisory Group, said: "The plan will influence more locally-made decisions on planning and development. It gives more control over planning matters back to local authorities and will inform the local plans that each authority develops, which set out in more detail how they will allow and encourage future growth.
"We know that some of the proposals are controversial. They are not easy decisions. But we need to be strategic about how we manage future growth so that it is focused, sustainable and of benefit to the people who live and work here."