Local people will be more involved than ever before
We have started work on a new Local Plan that sets out how the town is expected to grow during the next 25 years.
This important planning document will play a key role in deciding where any future development could take place in and around Melton Mowbray including new housing, employment land or recreation space.
It’s also expected to address the need for a new bypass which remains a top priority for us and the new plan is set to establish whether a route around the town is possible and how it might be achieved.
The Local Plan was discussed at a lively Conference held on Thursday 3rd July at Parkside, which was attended by around 100 local residents interested in the Plan and its progress.
We are fully aware of local concerns over traffic issues and remain totally behind calls for a bypass around Melton Mowbray. Our challenge now and that of the Local Plan is to identify the best route, to gather evidence so we are able to prove a bypass is needed, and then to identify realistic funding that will enable a scheme to take place.
This is very different to previously as we’re involving local residents from a much earlier stage. More than 200 people are already involved in reference groups set up to allow direct community input into the content of the Local Plan and plans for a Melton Bypass before public consultation takes place.
The new Local Plan (looking forward to 2036) is still at an early stage but we have commissioned traffic studies and these are already underway to show how serious the current traffic problems are and the impact that further development will most likely have. Evidence is important because the completed plan will have to prove to an independent Inspector that a bypass is needed, and that it can be achieved.
It’s estimated that more than £40 million will be required to fund a new bypass and we says it’s unrealistic to expect contributions from housing developers to fund more than 20-25% of the total required. Developer contributions are also often needed for things like schools, parks and leisure facilities.
The Government allocates funding for road projects on a regional basis and the council follows these opportunities closely, ready to make a bid for our town whenever the chance arises. However, the Government often allocates funds where there is large economic growth so Melton is often disadvantaged by size and the amount of industry.
We will also continue dialogue with Leicestershire County Council (who as Highway Authority are responsible for roads in the town) and also, through our MP, who has pledged to support the Council’s fight for government funds for a feasibility study into a bypass.
Whilst the production of the new Local Plan is underway, planning applications continue to be submitted and it remains our responsibility to decide them. Until a new plan is ready, the decisions we make have to take into account the Government’s national policy (the ‘NPPF’) which requires us to balance the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of proposals, based on the content of their policy.
We wishe to do the best we can to meet residents priorities. The bypass is clearly a priority for many but it’s important to remember that we do not have unlimited powers or unlimited resources and is just one of a number of organisations that need to work together to make this happen. We are determined to do what we can directly, and use our powers and influence to persuade others to play their part.
Councillor Byron Rhodes
Leader, Melton Borough Council