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1.7 - Town and Local Centres and Regeneration

What the Government say:

Planning for the town and local centres and regenerationThe Local Plan “should be positive, promote competitive town centre environments and set out policies for the management and growth of centres over the plan period”

“Local planning authorities should recognise town centres as the heart of their communities and pursue policies to support their vitality and viability”

“Local planning authorities should allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail, leisure, commercial, office, tourism, cultural, community and residential development needed in town centres”[1]

“Local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking in town centres so that it is convenient, safe and secure, including appropriate provision for motorcycles. They should set appropriate parking charges that do not undermine the vitality of town centres”[2]

What the Borough’s Local Plan needs to do:

The Local Plan needs to define town, district and local centres and their boundaries and set out the required level of development for a variety of uses, including residential, retail, leisure and office.

The Local Plan will need to identify and protect the main shopping areas so that they continue to include mainly shopping and associated uses.

The Local Plan will need to reflect the individual characteristics of each town, district and local centre and identify the amount and type of new development required that will enhance those characteristics.

The Local Plan will need to consider the required level of car parking within each centre.

Regeneration of the centres should also include improvement of existing or creation of new public spaces. An attractive and inviting environment is important to the success of a centre. It is important that the improvements to the public spaces that have recently taken place within the Oadby and Wigston town centres is complemented in the future.

The current situation:

We have set out the amount of development that is required within each town and district centre up to 2026 and we have shown how this amount of development could be provided[3]. The main aim has to be to regenerate the centres by improving their image and the services and facilities that they offer so that local people use them more often.

We have identified town centre boundaries and are able to ensure that the main shopping areas in the town and district centres remain mainly in a shopping use[4].

We have begun to implement town centre plans and during 2014 improvements to the public spaces on Bell Street, Wigston and The Parade, Oadby were completed. New homes have been built in the centres of Oadby, Wigston and South Wigston. We are continuing to identify and promote opportunities to increase the amount of development in the town and district centres[5]. This will help to ensure that the centres remain successful in the future.

Our Town Centre Manager and local retailers have worked together to the benefit of each of the centres and it is encouraging that despite the recent shift in consumer spending habits on the high street the number of empty units remains low.

There are nine local centres in the Borough. These include a range of small shops and related facilities of a local nature serving a small catchment[6].

[1] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 23); March 2012

[2] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 40); March 2012

[3] Oadby and Wigston Town Centres Area Action Plan; September 2013

[4] Oadby and Wigston Town Centres Area Action Plan Policies 2 and 3; September 2013

[5] Oadby, Wigston and South Wigston Investor Prospectus; March 2015

[6] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 2; September 2010

Infrastructure, Transport and Accessibility

The Challenges for the Future

Quick Questions

Detailed Questions

The Local Plan needs to ensure that policies relating to town and district centres promote the appropriate level of development required to meet local needs; that reflects the individual characteristics of each centre; and, which is viable for developers to build.

Being able to access the centres easily is important to ensure their continued success and the success of the businesses that are based there. Given the relatively small size of the Borough the centres are accessible by foot, bicycle, bus and car. Car parking serves a valuable role in support of the centres and the ability to easily access and park in the car parks are important considerations.

Good quality building design and public spaces encourages people to spend more time in the centres and as a result can boost economic activity.

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