Business leaders in plea for backing

By Rob George Friday 26 October 2012 Updated: 02/11 12:53

COUNCIL chiefs have been urged to back the creation of a major planning blueprint for Droitwich to provide a shot in the arm for the town’s economy.

Members of Droitwich Spa Business Forum have made the desperate plea amid fears Droitwich Town Council may choose to delay production of a Neighbourhood Plan despite obtaining a £20,000 grant earlier this year.

Forum members were left concerned following a recent meeting when it was revealed the council may have to take on extra staff to action the plan and costs could treble to £60,000.

Neighbourhood Plans form part of the Government’s 2011 Localism Act and are designed to give residents a greater say on future housing and business developments and also shape the future growth of businesses in the town.

But any failure to develop a plan could see major planning applications such as large-scale housing developments be approved in the absence of a legally-binding local vision.

Forum member John Dudley told The Standard he and a number of organisations have offered to help the town council in developing a neighbourhood plan.

“Since the meeting, local resident and Spa Business Forum member Sian Griffiths has written to the council offering to help,” he said.

“In the event of a negative action, this will mean no neighbourhood plan can be prepared as the town council have to be party to the plan.

“My real fear is planning in the town could be at the mercy of any developer in the Spa, with the current legislation in force.

“A Neighbourhood Plan would be very important for a town like Droitwich. It could help communities shape a future and help

businesses grow in the right areas.

“One advantage is it can speed up planning approval for new businesses or for change of use applications to ensure a

business is up and running or can continue profitable trading.

“Also, it can ensure that businesses are located in the right areas for the maximum benefit of the firm and the community.

“I would urge the town council to back the plan in a positive manner and help Droitwich be at the forefront of government legislation,” he added.

The town council is set to discuss the possibility of a neighbourhood plan when its planning committee meets at St Richard’s House on Victoria Square, on Monday (October 29) at 5.45pm.

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