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The plan and supporting evidence, including all the comments and petitions received during the last of four consultation exercises undertaken by the city council, have now been passed to the Government, which will appoint inspectors to manage the public scrutiny and debate of the proposals early next year.

Examination of the plan gives all interested parties, from residents and developers to neighbouring councils and other consultees, a chance to debate the proposals, which focus on creating new houses and employment between now and 2036.

The process allows inspectors to recommend potential changes or modifications to the plan after hearing all sides of the debate.

The council will then decide whether to adopt the final plan, following a final round of public consultation on any proposed modifications next year.

Moving ahead with the Local Plan is necessary to ensure the city has an up-to-date set of policies and proposals in the meantime, and any significant changes at this late stage would also mean extra costs, delays and create even greater pressure on potential development areas to be used for the creation of much-needed housing.

It would also mean a need to renegotiate agreements with neighbouring councils over taking on some of the development needed.

Currently the plan sees around 19,000 homes (around half of the overall housing need) together with an area of employment land to the equivalent of over 32 football pitches proposed to be met across the county that cannot be met within the city boundary.

Leicester assistant city mayor for housing and neighbourhoods, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “We desperately need the Local Plan to progress to allow us to tackle the housing crisis by getting on with delivering affordable housing and setting policy and design standards for development which are fit for the future.

“Any delay at this stage in the process will bring the whole of the current plan down – each year our housing need significantly increases and this would have to be considered through the re-opening of the hard-earned agreement with districts across the county to accommodate this.”

Leicester City Council’s new Local Plan sets out a framework for future development for the period 2020 to 2036, including areas such as development, waste, suite allocation and new policies. It is expected that this will be adopted in 2024.

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