Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 122

Extract from the Report of the Director of Environment and Development to the Environment and Development Committee, Leicester City Council, 7 June 1998


  4.1  Members will be aware of the history of the process of allocating the sites for places of worship at Manor Farm Hamilton. This can be summarised as follows:

  The approval of the Council's Policy "Places of Worship in Leicester" (1987) was an attempt to cater for the needs of different religious groups in the City. In order to make the appropriate provision, the policy document set out a number of proactive measures including a policy seeking the allocation of land for places of worship in housing or industrial developments over 10 Ha. Following on from this, sites for places of worship at Manor Farm were allocated to various religious groups in January 1990. The allocation was included in the first draft of the City of Leicester Local Plan (CLLP) which was published for consultation purposes in October 1990, with the consultation period ending in December 1990. The allocations were carried over to the deposit draft for which formal consultation was undertaken during March and April 1992. The process culminated in the Public Inquiry to the Plan from January to March 1993. The Inspector's report on the Plan (December 1993) considered and endorsed the proposals at Manor Farm.

  Further consultations will take place in accordance with standard procedures regarding future planning applications. I have set out below the latest position in relation to the Places of Worship, established at the Policy and Resources Committee of 23 February 1998, in particular regarding progress by the groups in meeting the Council's requirements, along with a brief history of the process which led to the current position.

  In January 1994 following a detailed and lengthy re-appraisal of the allocations, the Planning and Property Services Committees resolved to allocate 7.5 acres of the land to three religious groups. These are—The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission, The Ramgarhia Board, and the Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat. The allocations were subject to a detailed financial appraisal of the groups' abilities to purchase and develop the sites.

  Following the confirmation of the allocations, the January and March 1994 Council meetings received petitions against the allocations. The petitions asked that the places of worship at Hamilton should be restricted to groups predominately from the Hamilton, Humberstone and Netherall areas, and that if there was no local demand the land should be allocated for other local use.

  The Planning and Property Services Committees in March and May 1994 reaffirmed the allocations and the Council's places of worship policies. Council in May 1984 agreed to endorse the decisions made by the Committees. Since January 1994 numerous meetings and discussions have taken place between the three groups and representatives of the Council regarding the disposal and development of the land.

  More recently, I presented a report to the Property Sub Committee (11 February 1998) which was referred to the Policy and Resources Committee (P&R) on February 23 1998 highlighting the progress on disposal and the development of the sites. The P&R Committee resolved that it would receive a report in August which details the progress made by the groups, and that the report should include a clear exit strategy if the Council's requirements are not met. This report will include details of any planning applications should these be forthcoming. The applications will be subjected to public consultation.

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