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The MP for Droitwich, Peter Luff, has welcomed a clear reassurance from Wychavon District Council about their intentions towards planning proposals for Yew Tree Hill.

Peter wrote to the council after receiving a large number of letters and emails from concerned town residents. He had previously expressed opposition to further development in the area and in his latest letter repeated that opposition. He also asked for a clear statement of the council’s position after the decision to grant planning permission on the Copcut site to the south west of Droitwich.

In his reply, the council’s new senior planning officer, Giorgio Framalicco, said the council would continue to oppose development at Yew Tree Hill and that this firmly declared position had not been robustly challenged from a planning or technical perspective. This should be enough to protect this site until the new development plan is actually confirmed.

Peter said,

“The language of planning is pretty difficult and that’s because planning is a complex and legally precise process. But the message is clear, and I welcome it. But developers have deep pockets and we must remain watchful.

“Further development at Yew Tree Hill would seriously overload local infrastructure, be environmentally destructive and lead to unacceptable increases in traffic through communities like Tibberton. I hope the Town Council may now look at the provisions of the Localism Act to see what more can be done to protect this site, as Wychavon suggests.”

In his reply to Peter Luff, Giorgio Framalicco said,

“With regard to Yew Tree Hill, I am fully aware of the sensitivities regarding development there. In terms of the statutory local plan process, the land was not put forward as a suggested housing allocation in the South Worcestershire Development Plan Preferred Options (SWDPL) -(September to November 2011). We received numerous representations supporting this position. We have not received any robust planning/technical information which suggests that the position should change. This position is likely to be confirmed on 3 July when the three SWDP Councils consider a further report on the SWDP.

“With regard to local designations, the land remains subject to ENV1 of the Wychavon District Local Plan as a special landscape area. However, these are not advocated in the NPPF [the government’s new national planning policy framework]. If the SWDP is adopted, and published as currently drafted, the land at Yew Tree Hill will remain outside the development boundary where there would be no presumption in favour of development. Over the years this has been sufficient to resist speculative planning proposals for inappropriate development. At a more local level, if Droitwich Town Council, for example, intended to increase the protection afforded to Yew Tree Hill, then the neighbourhood planning process, as brought in by the Localism Act, could achieve it.”


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