Council leader warns of threat to South Worcestershire housing plan

By Rob George Friday 09 November 2012 Updated: 09/11 13:24

WYCHAVON District Council leader Coun Paul Middleborough has urged Malvern councillors to reject controversial plans which could jeopardise the housing blueprint for South Worcestershire.

Coun Middleborough made the desperate plea in a letter to Malvern Hills District Council leader Coun David Hughes ahead of a meeting of the authority on Tuesday (November 13).

At the meeting, councillors will debate alternative proposals for the future of development in Malvern which could threaten the entire South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).

The recommended changes include reducing the proposed housing allocation at Newland in Malvern from 700 homes to just 250 and halving the proposed housing allocation to the south of Worcester.

Homes spread around Malvern, within the Worcester city boundary and to the east of the M5 are also being proposed by the district council’s Council Policy Group (CPG).

But should the proposals gain support, the inevitable delay could threaten the SWDP which must be agreed simultaneously by Malvern Hills, Wychavon and Worcester City councillors.

In his letter, Coun Middleborough said: “The three authorities in South Worcestershire and the County Council have collaborated since 2006 on the preparation of a joint plan for the communities of the south of the county.

“Until we have a plan, the onslaught that we have will continue from the development industry in terms of unplanned growth as a result of the lack of a continuous five year housing supply.

“Your members should understand that a delay in the progression of the plan is not going to give them the control they seek.

“Time is of the essence and developers will only benefit from any delay, at the expense of the communities your members represent.

“Until a plan is adopted, unplanned and unwanted development will take place. This is likely to be in the most desirable parts of your district - the very areas that

the SWDP has always sought to protect,” he added.

Coun Hughes said: “It is extremely important that all councillors feel that they have had a chance to influence the content of the plan and represent local interests and in an ideal world we wish we had more time to do this.

“However, it is clear that national changes in planning guidance and deadlines for plan making mean that there are very real risks associated with delaying the SWDP for further work.

“I think everyone accepts that we need a plan and we need it as soon as possible,” he added.

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