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Planning Minister Nick Boles MP visited Wychavon today (17 May) following requests from Peter Luff MP and Cllr Judy Pearce, Deputy Leader and Executive Board Member for Planning, Infrastructure and Housing.

The visit was so the minister could hear concerns about national planning policy and how it is putting pressure on councils to accept unsustainable housing developments. For Wychavon, this means sites not proposed in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), the guiding document for development in the area.

Mr Boles also heard how significant housing developments have already been granted planning permission but that the Government targets remain high meaning to achieve them would be unsustainable and unachievable in the district.
In addition, it was explained that while the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy was about to be revoked, the evidence behind the strategy, which seeks a higher housing number than the SWDP, was still being used by appeal inspectors, meaning unwanted developments were being let through on appeal.
He also heard the Council is left with difficult decisions when appeals are so easily put through and local communities are left feeling that their voices are not being heard, leaving them in fear of further development.

Cllr Judy Pearce, Executive Board Member for Planning, Infrastructure and Housing,said:

“It was made very clear to Mr Boles that the current way the Government is calculating the five year supply of housing is unachievable. Wychavon has accepted its responsibilities and granted planning permission for considerable development, but it cannot be held responsible for forcing unsustainable development where is not needed or planned for. The Minister was able to reassure us that the Planning Inspectorate would put weight to the emerging SWDP, including its proposed housing numbers.”

Nick Boles MP commented:

“I fully congratulate the Council for its pro-growth approach and for bringing forward for submission a development plan that will provide sustainable development to meet with its economic, social and environmental responsibilities.”

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