The recent publication of the Planning Inspectorate’s Report on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (see Inspector Publishes Report On Central Lincolnshire Local Plan) means we now have an idea of the likely shape of the Long Leys Community for the next twenty years. Whilst nothing is ever set in stone, the Local Plan gives a strong guide to planners and its final amended version should be adopted this year (Update: plan approved on 24th April 2017). This article provides a personal opinion, from the author, of what it means for our community. The author is by no means a planning expert and there are no doubt other views on what could/should happen in the area. Members of the Long Leys Community are very welcome to express their own opinions via the comments section.
What It Means For Our Community
Overall the Local Plan is very good news for the Long Leys community. We now sit firmly in the centre of a “Green Wedge” (the map area covered with green dots). This makes it very difficult, I hesitate to use the word impossible, for large scale housing developments in the area. The Local Plan runs until 2036 so whilst there may be a level of development in the Long Leys area, such as the proposed nursing home, it should be small in the context of the overall size of our community.
As no one involved in the recent fight against Veolia needs any reminding, the Albion Works on Long Leys Road (referred to as an Established Employment Area) and the former landfill site behind it are now the only major areas of uncertainty. Should one of the businesses on Long Leys Road , such as Travis Perkins or Curtis, decide to relocate elsewhere then this potentially opens up better access to a slightly wider area for further business development and/or housing. We cannot realistically expect our community to be frozen with zero development. What is important is to ensure that any future developments enhance the community rather than take it backwards.
The map below has been obtained from the Local Plan team. The map has been annotated by the author and this is followed by a summary explanation of the various area categories. Extracts of the specific policies from the Local Plan are then provided for those who want to study the detail behind this.
Additional information can also be accessed via these links:
Download the Inspectors Report on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan
Download the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Proposed Submission
The Long Leys area can be considered to fall into five broad categories (see map above)
- Existing developments
- Predominantly residential, but also including some health facilities, some commercial/ retail and, currently, a church.
- Established Employment Area
- Identified as area E10 on the map, we know this as the Albion Works on Long Leys Road. It is covered under Local Plan policy LP5 and allows business developments in use class B1, B2 and B8 where proposals are of a scale that respects the character of the area and/or neighbouring land uses.
- Undefined Areas
- Areas shown in white on the map which are not currently developed (such as the site for the proposed Tanglewood nursing home) and are not allocated to any specific local plan policy
- Green Wedge
- Long Leys is now sitting in a “Green Wedge” which is covered by policy LP22. This includes West Common and much of the undeveloped land to the north of Long Leys Road. Policy LP22, which is included in more detail at the bottom of this article, has the function of preventing the physical merging of settlements, providing a “green lung” and an accessible recreational resource and providing a wildlife corridor to help with conservation of local wildlife. Development will not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated that the development is essential or is not detrimental to its main function. Whilst this does not guarantee there will be no future development it does put very strong protections in place.
- Important Open Space
- We know this as the allotments to the south of Long Leys Road and it is covered under policy LP23. This policy does put protections in place (see detail below) which again rules out development other than in very special circumstances.
Listed below are extracts from the local plan for:
- Policy LP5: Important Established Employment Areas (EEA)
- Policy LP22: Green Wedges
- Policy LP23: Local Green Space and other Important Open Space
Note that there is further detail around these specific policies in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan
Policy LP5: Important Established Employment Areas (EEA)
Established employment sites, as identified on the Policies Map, perform an important role in the local economy and therefore are in need of protection for employment (B Class) purposes. They also offer potential for intensification and/or renewal.
Proposals for new B1/B2/B8 employment developments and/or redevelopment of sites for B1/B2/B8 uses that come forward in the following important established employment sites will be supported provided the proposed development is of a scale that respects the character of the area and/or neighbouring land uses. Proposals within the identified areas for any use not listed below will be refused, unless clearly ancillary to the uses identified below.
Policy LP22: Green Wedges
Green Wedges, as identified on the Policies Map, have been identified to fulfil one or more of the following functions and policy aims:
- Prevention of the physical merging of settlements, preserving their separate identity, local character and historic character;
- Creation of a multi-functional ‘green lung’ to offer communities a direct and continuous link to the open countryside beyond the urban area;
- Provision of an accessible recreational resource, with both formal and informal opportunities, close to where people live, where public access is maximised without compromising the
integrity of the Green Wedge;
- Conservation and enhancement of local wildlife and protection of links between wildlife sites to support wildlife corridors.
Within the Green Wedges planning permission will not be granted for any form of development, including changes of use, unless:
- a. it can be demonstrated that the development is not contrary or detrimental to the above functions and aims; or
- b. it is essential for the proposed development to be located within the Green Wedge, and the benefits of which override the potential impact on the Green Wedge.
- Development proposals within a Green Wedge will be expected to have regard to:
- c. the need to retain the open and undeveloped character of the Green Wedge, physical separation between settlements, historic environment character and green infrastructure
- d. the maintenance and enhancement of the network of footpaths, cycleways and bridleways, and their links to the countryside, to retain and enhance public access, where appropriate
to the role and function of the Green Wedge;
- e. opportunities to improve the quality and function of green infrastructure within the Green Wedge with regard to the Central Lincolnshire Green Infrastructure network and Biodiversity Opportunity Mapping.
Development proposals adjacent to the Green Wedges will be expected to demonstrate that:
- f. they do not adversely impact on the function of the Green Wedge, taking into account scale,
siting, design, materials and landscape treatment;
- g. They have considered linkages to and enhancements of the adjacent Green Wedge.
Policy LP23: Local Green Space and other Important Open Space
An area identified as a Local Green Space on the Policies Map will be protected from development in line with the NPPF, which rules out development on these sites other than in very special
An area identified as an Important Open Space on the Policies Map is safeguarded from
development unless it can be demonstrated that:
- a. There is an identified over provision of that particular type of open space in the community area and the site is not required for alternative recreational uses;
- b. Suitable alternative open space can be provided on a replacement site or by enhancing existing open space serving the community area; and
- c. There are no significant detrimental impacts on amenity, the character of the surrounding area, ecology and any heritage assets.