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“Have your say!” That was the advice from Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff today when he urged the people of Droitwich, Evesham and all the communities and villages affected by plans for a dramatic increase in housing in South Worcestershire to take part in the latest round of consultation on the subject.

Peter was responding to the news that the three district councils of South Worcestershire – Wychavon, Malvern Hill and Worcester – had announced plans for a further round of consultation on the subject. Exhibitions and workshops will take place at a number of venues between now and the end of the year, including Evesham, Droitwich and Worcester itself. There will be further meetings next year for the rural areas.

Peter explained,

“We all know we need more new houses to meet local need – but not as many as the government is trying to force on us. However, as long as the wretched Regional Spatial Strategy – an ugly name for an ugly plan – is in place, the councils are obliged to comply with its requirements.

“These detailed meetings are a real attempt to bring some democracy to an undemocratic process. It is vital that everyone who is worried about housing need and the environment go along and have their say.

“Because the three councils have decided to extend the consultation process – and in the light of the likely decision by the government to impose still more houses on us – we all have yet another opportunity to get our views across. We must take it.”


Extracts from official letter on consultation plans follows

The West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (Phase 2) Review has indicated 24,500 dwellings for South Worcestershire between 2006 and 2026, together with schools, health and community facilities, shops, employment areas and open spaces. Of these, 10,500 should be located within the Worcester area, of which a minimum of 3,200 would be within the City boundary.

In order to more effectively plan for this growth, the three local authorities of Malvern Hills District, Worcester City and Wychavon District have informally joined together and produced the South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy Preferred Options document. We carried out consultation on the Preferred Options in autumn 2008, and more targeted consultation on the proposed strategic locations during early 2009.

The Preferred Options document has indicated directions of growth for approximately 14,150 dwellings, leaving approximately 10,350 dwellings and associated facilities to be allocated through the Site Allocations and Policies Development Plan Document.

In order to progress the Site Allocations and Policies document we are hosting Information gathering opportunities which will take the form of exhibitions and workshops within Worcester, Droitwich Spa, Malvern, Evesham, Pershore, Tenbury Wells, and Upton upon Severn through autumn 2009. (See attached. The villages and rural areas will follow on in spring 2010. These will take the form of an ongoing debate in which we would welcome your involvement.

As indicated above the Joint Core Strategy will allocate larger ‘strategic’ sites, and overarching policies to ensure that any development within South Worcestershire is sustainable, protects the environment, encourages use of renewable energy technology and the use of public transport rather than the car. The aim of these events is twofold:

• To assess all other potential development sites whether it is for housing, employment, retail, education, health, community or indeed an open space use, and
• To review existing Local Plan policies to ascertain what additional local policies are required to secure a quality of development within, and protects the environment of, South Worcestershire.

I have attached to this letter the programme of exhibition/workshops for Worcester and the towns which are planned for this autumn. I will write again early next year in regard to the villages and other rural settlements.

There is a leaflet prepared to start the debate on future development within Worcester City, together with a questionnaire for your responses which you will find on our website www.swjcs.org. The leaflets for the towns, together with their respective questionnaires will be available soon on our website www.swjcs.org. If you require a hard copy please contact any of the officers below or alternatively copies are available at any of the Council Customer Service Centres or libraries within the three districts. You will note that each questionnaire has a closing date, but the debate will be ongoing and we are open to receiving further information after that date.

For this process to work, we need your help whether you are resident (of any age), employer or employee, infrastructure provider, community group, resident association or visitor. Your views are valuable as we seek to plan together for the whole of South Worcestershire. We will use all of the evidence we gather through technical reports and this Information gathering process to publish a Site Allocations and Policies Preferred Options Document for South Worcestershire late in 2010.

You can also find also find all the details on our website www.swjcs.org

SWJCS contacts for Droitwich Spa, Evesham, Pershore and the Villages in Wychavon District.
Fred Davies 01386 565367
Andy Ford 01386 565362
Denise Duggan 01386 565267
Angie Matthews 01386 565187

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