The three district councils in South Worcestershire have set up a joint planning team to prepare a new local plan, called the ‘South Worcestershire Development Plan Revision’ (SWDPR). So far, the team have produced an initial draft which was circulated for consultation in November 2019. A revised version (called the ‘draft submission’) is due to be published in October 2020, with submission to the Secretary of State in the following February. The Planning Inspectorate will then carry out a public consultation on the SWDPR, with a final decision in October 2021.
The initial draft of the SWDPR is a long and complex document, which proposes to extend the period being planned from 2031 (in the original South Worcestershire Development Plan) to 2041. Like all local plans, it is mainly concerned with allocating sites for new housing and employment. The Government has imposed a formula for calculating the number of new dwellings required. In South Worcestershire, this amounts to 13,957 dwellings to be completed between 2021 and 2041. The SWDPR proposes that the great majority of these will be built in urban areas, mainly on greenfield sites at the edge of existing settlements. There are also three major ‘strategic developments’ in what is currently open countryside: 5000 dwellings in a new town around the new railway station East of Worcester; 2000 on the redundant airfield at Throckmorton; and 1000 in Rushwick near a new railway station. Some 403 houses are proposed for the villages of Malvern Hills District, of which the largest single allocation is for Martley, with 71 to be built just South of the playing field. This was included despite the largely negative assessment of the site which was carried out for the SWDPR.
The Parish Council opposes this proposed development, and has submitted a report to joint planning team (available on this website).
The SWDPR takes little account of neighbourhood plans. Nevertheless, most of its policies, including the housing allocations, are designated as ‘non-strategic’ and may therefore be affected by neighbourhood plans. This makes it important to keep our own neighbourhood plan up-to-date. The Parish Council therefore proposes to work with our colleagues in Knightwick and Doddenham Parish Council to update our neighbourhood plan, so that it can be in place as soon as possible after the SWDPR comes into effect.