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Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff has welcomed as “wonderful news” the decision of the three district councils in south Worcestershire to give local communities an extra six moths to influence decisions over the location of new housing in the so-called South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy (SWJCS).

The MP has recently had meetings with representatives of the communities that would be affected by the very high numbers of new houses that the councils are being forced to accommodate.

Commenting, Peter said,

“The three district councils have sound technical reasons to delay the complete strategy by six months – but it is wonderful news for everyone in our county who cares both about housing need and the local environment. It should enable a much better balance to be struck. There is no hurry and those who say there is are just wrong. Such big decisions can only benefit from mature consideration.

“I am very impressed by the thoughtful way local people are tackling the issue of accommodating such large numbers of new houses. However, as is so often the case, many people have become aware of the detailed proposals only at the eleventh hour. It is very helpful that wewill now have more time to reach genuinely sustainable solutions.

“Of course I still think the numbers being insisted on by the government are too high – and those numbers which will actually increase if the Regional Spatial Strategy is revised upwards later this year. A true local needs based approach would lead to lower figures.

“Concern in my constituency is probably greatest in south Droitwich and in Norton-juxta-Kempsey, but places such as Fernhill Heath, Bevere and Whittington are also very concerned.

“In Droitwich, campaigners are coming forwards with constructive alternative proposals to accommodate the extra houses that will need time to be examined.

“In Norton-juxta-Kemspey, the parish council has produced an outstanding document setting out the proper planning considerations that need to be fully incorporated into the SWJCS.

“The ludicrous thing is that we are being asked to define now exactly where many thousands of houses will go over the next 16 years, when we just can’t know how many houses we will need over such a long period. The very high levels of immigration we have seen recently are, in my view, unlikely to continue. If that is right, we will need much lower housing numbers to meet genuine local need. But if this process is rushed, we will be committed now to meeting the demands of developers with no way out.”


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