Spa to pilot planning trial for Government

By Rob George 15/03 Updated: 23/03 10:22

SPA residents will have a greater say in the planning process after the town was selected to trial a new Government scheme.

Droitwich Spa Town Council is among 108 organisations involved in a pilot of powers to be brought in under the Government’s new Localism Act.

The act is designed to give people more say on planning and new developments in their own areas.

Spa residents will be able to help determine where developments should go and also decide the type and design of development that can be granted automatic planning permission.

Pilot areas such as Droitwich will test out the principles of the act before it is rolled out later in the year across the country.

Council chiefs held a meeting at St Richard’s House on Wednesday (March 7) to start the ball rolling.

Droitwich Town Council planning committee chairman, Coun Pam Davey, told The Standard: “I am delighted to learn that we have been successful in our bid for a Government Front Runner grant.

“I know there are many people keen to participate in this very important piece of ‘localism’.

“Talks are already taking place with Wychavon in order to start the process as quickly as possible.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone in the Spa to help shape the future of our town,” she added.

The trial has been boosted with a £20,000 grant from the Government to help with neighbourhood planning.

Gill Collin, Wychavon District Council’s head of housing and planning services, said:”We’ve worked with all of the five parishes who applied for the latest round of Front Runner funding for their neighbourhood plans and we’re very pleased to see they were successful.

“The plans will have to fit in with our own South Worcestershire Development Plan, but will allow the communities to influence growth in their areas and to have a greater say over where development will take place,” she added.

Communities Minister Bob Neill MP said: “The large number of communities jumping at the chance to trial these new powers demonstrates the enthusiasm people have for this local approach to planning.

“For the first time communities will be in the driving seat and be allowed to shape the way they want their area to develop instead of having a vision imposed upon them from above,” he added.

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