Snibston and the Master Plan

Having agreed to give Museums and Libraries a reprieve while cost-effective alternatives are found to closure, Leicestershire County Council (LCC) is now in a pickle of its own making.

Having taken the 'Freeze Grants' offered over the last few years to keep Council Tax low, they are now being tipped into a financial abyss by reductions in their Government Grant.

[http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/County-Hall-cash-crisis-mean-tax-rises-bankruptcy/story-22952033-detail/story.html]

Critics reckon that "had LCC increased their share of the Council Tax year on year by only the amount of the country's inflation (so that the amount in real terms stayed the same) then they would have got more than £50M.  Instead they froze it and now have been done the dirty by the Government : so a double wammy."

Lacking a TARDIS, no-one can go back in time to undo this mess.

One solution critics have offered to this impasse is "selling some of the vast thousands of acres of land stock that LCC owns. The unused land would be enough to build a small town and solve all LCC's finance problems."

Which is exactly why Snibston is under threat and why NWLDC have to undermine their own strategic housing market assessment.

Cllrs Blunt and Rushton are convinced that building on every blade of grass in NWLeics will solve their and LCCs financial problems without upsetting their natural voters in the leafier parts of the Shire.

The problem they have with this is two-fold. The Friends of Snibston have run a stonking campaign to save the museum that Cllrs Blunt & Rushton intended to demolish and build on.

In addition, G.L. Hearn - housing experts - have done a Leicestershire wide strategic housing market assessment (SHMA) that includes the City. The SHMA confirms the local belief that there is little market for houses in NWL.

Local evidence confirms that belief. Planning permissions have been given but houses not built on the land. In a less politicised world, evidence would drive a change of plan.

Instead Cllrs Blunt & Rushton want to give more permissions and continue with the so-called sustainable urban development in SE Coalville of 4000 houses.

[http://minutes-1.nwleics.gov.uk/documents/s3452/Cabinet%20report%20-%20G%20Plan%20action%20plan%20-%20Final%20after%20SO%202.pdf]

This is anything but 'sustainable'. They have no funds to improve the roads in that area. The A511 roundabouts and Hugglescote Cross Roads are all over capacity.

The Cllrs Blunt & Rushton solution for Hugglescote cross roads is a mirror image of the Snibston Museum campaign. LCCs only plan involves demolishing the old Victorian school that is now Hugglescote community centre - a vital local attraction.

This will only drive more traffic onto residential streets that were never designed for cars.

If someone put investment into Coalville - such as returning passengers to our train-line and developing our heritage offer - that housing market could change .

Lacking the necessary qualities of leadership, Cllrs Blunt & Rushton seem to think they can buck the market by sheer force of will and make people want to buy houses in a town that they have deprived of attractions.

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