A cause for optimism

There is cause for cautious celebration in Droitwich Ė and across south Worcestershire. Wychavon district council has unanimously rejected an application for a huge and inappropriate development at Yew Tree Hill in Droitwich.

Many breathed a sigh of relief when this particular site was not included in the South Worcestershire Development Plan, the plan for development for the whole south of the county up to 2030. So, I know how frustrated local people were when an application to build hundreds of new homes on the site was submitted by developers last year.

The national Planning Inspectorate say the council canít yet demonstrate that they have a five year land supply for houses in south Worcestershire. Thatís why there was a fear that the council would have no choice but to approve this application to make up for the shortfall. However, the will of local people has prevailed and the council rejected the application.

But we shouldnít celebrate too much yet Ė there is a chance that the councilís decision could be overturned. At the time I am writing this, the council are waiting to see whether the developers will appeal this decision. If they do, then the decision to grant planning permission at Yew Tree Hill will pass to the Planning Inspectorate at a public inquiry.

The most important thing now must be that we get our local plan in place in order to stop the risk of speculative developments like Yew Tree Hill. The three councils have made good progress with this and it should be in place by the end of the year. Indeed, when the Government planning minister, Nick Boles, visited Wychavon earlier this month, he congratulated them on the approach that they have taken with their development plan.

We must now all hope that the councilís decision about Yew Tree Hill will be upheld by the Planning Inspectorate. In the meantime, well done Wychavon!


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