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The publication of the draft proposals for the South Worcestershire Development Plan has been welcomed by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire. But he is calling on local people and parish and town councils to tell him their reaction.

Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council worked together to prepare the document, released today, to help guide economic, residential and environmental change in the area until 2030.

Commenting on the publication Peter said,

“This is good news for local people who now have a clearer idea of the preferred planning options for the area for the next 19 years. This will make it much easier to resist proposals from the private sector for housing developments in inappropriate places.

“All three partner councils have done an excellent job in working together to come up with a plan that aims to protect Wychavon’s market towns and to support the local population with new housing built in major urban centres where it is sensible, but with a strong emphasis on sustaining villages.

“I imagine there will be sighs of relief in many communities, especially around Worcester which will be able to absorb more of its own demand than once seemed likely.

“The proposals do not suggest building on Green Belt land so the Green Belt boundary between Worcester and Droitwich will not change, which I welcome warmly.

“The plan recognises that we still need to build houses in the local area to support the growing demand of an ageing polulation and to meet the legitmate aspirations of young people. But the number of new houses proposed by the old Joint Core Strategy has been reduced by 20% thanks to the abolition of the old unloved and unlamented, top-down Regional Spatial Strategy. This leaves us with a much more manageable quantity, particularly since many of the homes required by 2030 have already either been built, given planning permission or had sites allocated to them. ”

The document states that Droitwich only requires one urban extension, and Peter explained,

“It comes as a great relief that the Yew Tree Hill site is not being considered as an option after the councils have agreed that the site’s location and access constraints do not support an employment element, and would impact adversely on the landscape.

“Similarly it seems that proposals from the private sector for large-scale development of Fernhill Heath are being looked upon unfavourably too for fear of encroaching on Green Belt land.

“We will, though, need to look very carefully at the green light instead given for land near Copcut Lane - this is a deeply controversial site for local people too.”

The draft Preferred Options stage of the SWDP will now be the subject of a major public consultation in September – giving residents a chance to shape the future of South Worcestershire. Peter added,

“But I still need people and councils to tell me their reaction to what is planned.”

After the eight-week consultation in the autumn, residents will have another chance to comment at an Examination in Public, which will take place before the SWDP is formally adopted in May 2013.


Notes to editors:

The full document, along with supporting maps, is available at sychavon.gov.uk and via a link from swdevelopmentplan.org.

Residents will be able to comment on the proposals online at swdevelopmentplan.org or submit their views in writing to:

The South Worcestershire Development Plan Team, Orchard House, Farrier Street, Worcester, WR1 3BB. Tel: 01905 722233

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