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The Worcester News made pretty worrying reading on 27th January:

ďA new housing estate the size of St Peterís could be built in a huge expansion of Worcester. Landowners have signed a deal which could see up to 3,000 homes on land south of the A4440 southern link road, next to the city.Ē

Most of the area is in Malvern Hills, but there will still be an area within Wychavon and your parish council area. I fear we are going to see a lot of large scale planning applications around Worcestershire over the next few months as the new South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) is progressed - and before the provisions of the Localism Bill come into force and the wretched Regional Spatial Strategy is finally legally abolished.

Itís going to be a worrying time for those of us who care about the local environment, but I am encouraged by the sensible way the three district councils are getting on with the SWDP. When the preferred options are published in the early autumn, it will give us much more fire power to resist unwanted and inappropriate developments.

On a happier note, I want to welcome our new neighbours at Mucknell Abbey. The Benedictine community has moved to Mucknell after 60 years in Burford, and a brief spell in Pebworth. They are now settling in after their move in November of last year. Iím told the monastery is an impressive sustainable building built to ecological standards and sets a fine example of a green future. Iím looking forward to making arrangements for a visit - and a brief respite from the cares of the world.

Another newcomer to the area is Norton College. I visited the college recently and met the Educational Director, Ian Hardicker, with Cllr Rob Adams. I can do no better than quote their website:

ďNorton College has been established as a response to the need to change the way we deal with young people who for whatever reason may be having difficulty accessing the mainstream of education. The College aims to build on students previous successes, building their confidence etc and allowing them to extend their experiences beyond what they had previously thought possible.Ē

Itís early days for this innovative college, but I think I can speak safely for both Rob and me when I say how impressed we were with what we saw and with the potential of this remarkable educational establishment. Itís all the more surprising to find it in the old Morgan Crucible factory Ė not a traditional school building, to say the least.

To our newcomers, both spiritual and educational, a warm welcome, then.

ENDS


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