By Rob George Friday 16 November 2012 Updated: 16/11 11:20
A FURIOUS row has broken out between councillors and a group which promotes Droitwich Spa over the potential creation of a major planning blueprint for the town.
Members of For Droitwich Spa bitterly criticised the decision by Droitwich Town Council to delay production of a Neighbourhood Plan and accused councillors of blocking residents from having their say.
But Coun Roy Murphy, chairman of the town council's planning committee, hit back and said the council would act in the best interests of residents.
The furore began when councillors voted to delay production of a plan at a meeting on October 29 despite securing a £20,000 grant for the purpose in May.
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
In a statement on www.droitwichspa.com, For Droitwich Spa said: "The council have decided a plan is of no value to the community and as the elected representatives they will make the decisions.
"Devolution of powers to the community appears to be a step too far and they will not even discuss with the community the pros and cons of a plan.
"This is in spite of offers from community groups to help and get on with discussions," he added
But Coun Murphy said the total cost of a plan would be nearer to £60,000 and local taxpayers could be asked to meet the
"High cost decisions are taken only where there is a strong probability of a positive outcome. Hesitation is essential where the costs are certain but the outcome isn’t," he added.
"Under the circumstances, therefore, Droitwich Town Council is adopting a cautious approach and will consider Neighbourhood Planning in due course as and when circumstances change."
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