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Inspector questions housing figures

The three councils involved in compiling the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) have been asked to look again at the figures they prepared on the number of homes needed in the area by 2030.

The Inspector who is conducting an Examination of the Plan has asked the three authorities – Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – to do more work on the technical evidence used to establish how many homes the area will need.

The Inspector, Roger Clews, said in a letter to the councils that the number of homes required “is likely to be substantially higher than the 23,200 figure identified in the submitted Plan.”

The Inspector’s interim conclusions are published today at http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/examination.

Councillor Judy Pearce, who chairs the South Worcestershire Joint Advisory Panel that leads work on the SWDP, said:“We are disappointed that our locally derived figures have been questioned by the Inspector. The Inspector clearly feels that the figure should be higher and has asked us to undertake more analysis to enable him to agree a final figure.

“It’s not unusual for many councils to have their plan rejected at this first stage of Examination, as has happened recently in Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth, North Warwickshire and elsewhere.

“So we are very pleased that the SWDP is still on track and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the Inspector to produce the technical work he has requested and to achieve the best result for local people from this process.”

The SWDP will guide South Worcestershire’s economic and housing growth over the next 17 years and, once adopted, will form the basis for planning decisions across South Worcestershire.

Today’s news follows public hearings in the first week of October, held as part of phase one of the Inspector’s Examination of the SWDP. His interim conclusions show that the three councils met the legally binding duty to co-operate with neighbouring councils and other bodies in preparing the Plan. He also supports the proposed use of 280 hectares of land in south Worcestershire for employment.

But he has questioned the evidence used as the basis for the figure of 23,200 new homes by 2030, and his interim conclusions note that developers at the hearings put forward a wide range of figures from 23,500 to 36,000.

His interim conclusions give little weight to the highest figures produced by developers.

Cllr Pearce said: “There has been pressure from some developers for higher numbers of homes and we are relieved that the Inspector has not accepted some of the more extreme suggestions.”

The councils have also been asked to revise their figures on how much retail space will be needed across south Worcestershire by 2030. The Plan currently calls for 50,000 square metres of new retail space to be built during the period covered by the Plan. The Inspector suggests that in some towns there may be a danger of too much retail space being created.

The three councils have been given until 8 November to produce a timetable for the compiling of the new housing data.

The Inspector says that once the new housing need assessment work is completed and published, he will hold another hearing before concluding this first phase of his Examination.

A second phase will follow, looking at the sites where it is proposed that new homes and businesses are built.

Further Information:

The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) will provide a long-term vision up to 2030 for south Worcestershire, with the emphasis on boosting the local economy and delivering sustainable housing development.

It is based on extensive evidence and previous consultations and has been jointly prepared by the three partner councils – Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon.

The SWDP includes proposed policies for dealing with four broad areas:

  • Creating jobs and economic prosperity
  • Meeting housing needs
  • Transportation
  • The environment

Details of the proposals are available at http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/examination.

The proposals build on the work done between 2007 and 2010 on the South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy. The three councils decided to take a different approach when the coalition Government announced changes to the planning system.

Sustainability Appraisal Addendum Report (July 2013)

The South Worcestershire authorities have sought and gained the Inspector’s permission to add to the Core Document Library a Sustainability Appraisal Addendum Report  ( CD 217).

The councils  are very aware of the length of time that the entire process has taken since the inception of the initial Joint Core Strategy in 2006 and the amount of detailed information that the process has generated, including various iterations of the Sustainability Appraisals. Consequently  the Councils have decided to prepare this report  to assist participants.

This material is presented to the inspector and participants in the interests of openness and transparency. The Councils would wish to stress that they do not consider that there is any new information contained therein and that it is a re-presentation of existing material from the Sustainability Appraisals to assist participants’ understanding of the evidence underpinning the Councils’ strategy, policies  and site selections, including reasons for selecting/rejecting alternatives .

South Worcestershire Development Plan submitted

South Worcestershire Development Plan submitted.

On Tuesday 28th May 2013 Malvern Hills District, Worcester City and Wychavon District Councils jointly submitted the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) to the Secretary of State for independent examination.

You can view the submitted SWDP and the key Submission Documents via the links below:

SWDP Submission letter – 28th May 2013

Statement of Availability – June 2013  

CD 001 SWDP Proposed Submission Document (Jan 2013)
CD 002 SWDP Proposed Submission Document: Tracked Change Version to demonstrate the impact of the recommended minor changes (May 2013)
CD 003 Schedule of Minor Recommended Changes (May 2013)
CD 004 Duty to Cooperate Statement (May 2013)
CD 005 Soundness Self-Assessment Checklist (May 2013)
CD 006 Consultation Report (Reg 22 (1)(c)) May 2013)
CD 007 Statement of Representations (Reg 22 (1)(c )(v)) Report (May 2013)
CD 008 SWDP Submission Policies Map (May 2013)
CD 009 List of Superseded Local Plan Policies and Proposals (May 2013)
CD 010 Sustainability Appraisal Main Report (Integrated Appraisal) – November 2012
CD 010a A1: Statement on Compliance with SEA Directive & Regulations
CD 010b A2: SA Compatibility Analysis of Vision and Spatial Objectives
CD 010c A3: SA of Development Strategy Core Policies
CD 010d A4: SWDP POs: Site Allocations Urban Areas
CD 010e A5: Rural Housing and Employment Sites
CD 010f A6: SA of Development Management Policies: Sustainable and Prosperous Communities
CD 010g A7: Consultation Responses
CD 010h A8: SA Framework Sites: Strategic & Non-Strategic
CD 010i A9: Plans & Programmes & Baseline Update
CD 010j A10: Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment (EqIA)
CD 010k A11: SA of Significant Changes
CD 011 Habitats Regulations Assessment (Appropriate Assessment) – Main Report
CD 011a A I: European Site Characterisations
CD 011b A II: Plans, Projects and Programmes Review
CD 011c A III: SWDP Pre-Submission Policy Screening
CD 011d A IV: European Sites Screening
CD 011e A V: Consultation Commentary
CD 012 South Worcestershire IDP – May 2013

 

Click here to view supporting evidence base and background papers

Click here to view all representations received (in redacted form) from the Proposed Submission Consultation

Paper copies of a number of the key Submission Documents will also be made available at the  deposit locations in accordance with Regulation 22(3)(a). These locations include customer care centres and libraries at Worcester, Malvern Hills, Upton Upon Severn , Tenbury Wells, Droitwich Spa, Evesham and Pershore.

The name of the Inspector appointed by the Planning Inspectorate has been confirmed as Mr Roger Clews BA MSc DipEd DipTP MRTPI.

The three Councils have jointly appointed a Programme Officer to organise and administer the examination into the SWDP under the guidance of the appointed Planning Inspector. The Programme Officer is:

Helen Wilson
32 Pennyford Close
Brockhill
Redditch
B97 6TW

Tel: 01527 65741
Email: Progofficer@aol.com

to whom all correspondence and enquiries in respect of the examination process should be addressed.

Helen has established an Examination webpage: http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/examination. Whilst hosted by the SWDP website, the Examination webpage will be maintained by Helen.

It is anticipated that the hearings will take place in the summer of 2013 and adoption will be achieved in early 2014.

SWDP Submission update

We received a large number of responses and representations to our technical consultation on the South Worcestershire Development Plan at the start of the year. It is taking time to go through all these in the correct manner, so the leaders of the three partner authorities have now agreed to submit the Plan to the Secretary of State no later than the end of May. We are working on the basis that the public hearing will still start in the summer.

Revocation of the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy

On Thursday 25th April 2013 the Government announced that the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy would be revoked on Monday 20th May 2013. The Chief Planner’s letter making this announcement can be found here