Go-ahead for 2,750-home mixed-use Leics scheme despite Historic England concerns

Councillors in Leicestershire have approved plans for a 225-hectare, 2,750-home mixed-use scheme on a greenfield site, despite Historic England raising “serious concerns” about the potential harm to a Grade II* listed church.

Harborough District Council. Image: Geograph / Dave Bevis
Harborough District Council. Image: Geograph / Dave Bevis

Leicestershire County Council submitted a hybrid application for the Lutterworth East development to Harborough District Council in February last year.

Harborough councillors voted five to four to follow officers’ advice and approve the application at a committee meeting earlier this week.

Outline permission was granted for up to 2,750 homes and up to 86,000 square metres of employment uses, including 52,000 square metres of B8 employment space and 34,000 square metres of B1 and B2 uses. The plans also include two primary schools; 8,000 square metres of shops and community facilities; and public open space.

Full permission was granted for a spine road and associated junctions with the A426 north of Lutterworth and the A4304 east of junction 20 on the M1 motorway.

Officers advised that the greenfield site was allocated for development in the council’s 2019 local plan and that the scale of development proposed accorded with this policy.

Government heritage watchdog Historic England raised “serious concerns” about the development and warned that harm would be caused to heritage assets including the Grade II* listed St Leonard’s Church.

However, officers advised that the proposed development “protected the significance of the designated heritage assets to the extent possible given the inevitable consequences of any development” of the scale envisioned by the local plan.

Officers noted that 163 objections to the proposals had been received. “It is acknowledged that the proposal has caused concern within the local community,” they said.

“Notwithstanding this, the need for and benefits of the proposed development are substantial, any reduced scale scheme would not meet the need as effectively and officers are satisfied that these benefits very significantly outweigh the harms caused.”

In October last year, plans were submitted for another major allocated site in the Harborough local plan - proposing 1,200 homes on a former golf course to the east of Leicester.

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