South Worcestershire Development Plan

For many of my constituents, their faith in our democracy depends on a very technical issue. They see things happening to their communities that they are powerless to resist. This is because the South Worcestershire Development Plan, that sets out where the new houses we need should go, hasnít been approved yet.

Without a local plan, the way planning rules work means developers have more power than local communities.

The three district councils have worked well together to develop a plan and it should be adopted soon Ė but now the Planning Inspector, who is examining it, has challenged the planís local housing figures.

The Inspector believes that we should increase significantly the number of houses in the plan because some of the assumptions the councils made are wrong. For example, he anticipates higher economic growth rates than the three councils forecast.

The councils now need to either re-examine their forecasts or argue for the case they first put. Unfortunately this risks holding up the progress of the plan.

The other South Worcestershire MPs and I are working with the communities who are, during this period of delay, threatened by unwelcome development. There might have to be an increase in the numbers originally planned in some towns and villages, but, we will do all that we can to resist piecemeal developments that are not right for the local area.

While this might all sound very negative, I do still think we have reason to be optimistic. The South Worcestershire Development Plan continues to make progress. Many other councils across the country have seen their plans rejected at this stage and have had to go back to the drawing board all together. Luckily, this isnít the case with our plan.

Until we get the plan in place, though, localism and democracy sound pretty hollow concepts to too many communities in our county.


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