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Development Plan Examination set to re-open

The Inspector who is carrying out an Examination of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) has announced that new hearings will take place next month, after the three councils preparing the plan submitted new evidence.

The Inspector, Roger Clews, will hold the hearings on March 13 and 14 to consider new evidence on how many homes will be needed in south Worcestershire by 2030. The three partner councils – Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – submitted the Plan to the Government last year.

Initial Examination hearings took place in October, after which the Inspector said that the number of homes required “is likely to be substantially higher than the 23,200 figure identified in the submitted Plan.” He also ruled out some of the larger figures proposed by developers, some as high as 36,000.  He asked the councils to supply further information, and they have now examined updated estimates on likely economic growth and job creation across South Worcestershire up to 2030.

In their submission to the Inspector, published today at http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/examination, the councils have suggested a revised housing requirement of between 26,700 and 27,300, based on this latest evidence.  At the hearings next month, the Inspector will consider if this should be the final housing number that will be included in the completed Plan.

Councillor Judy Pearce, who chairs the South Worcestershire Joint Advisory Panel that leads work on the SWDP, said:

“It is important that we move forward with the Plan and we hope that the Inspector will now be able to determine a housing number for south Worcestershire.  He will need to consider carefully that final number in relation to infrastructure and the environment.”

The SWDP will guide south Worcestershire’s economic and housing growth over the next 16 years and, when adopted by the three councils, will form the basis for planning decisions across South Worcestershire. The Inspector has already confirmed that he supports the SWDP’s proposed use of 280 hectares of land in south Worcestershire for employment.

Once this first stage of his Examination is satisfactorily concluded, the Inspector is likely to call a second phase to consider where the new homes and businesses are to be built.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Update

A  CIL timeline was approved by the South Worcestershire Councils in September 2013.

That was before Stage 1 of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) hearing began in October 2013 and before the consequent changes to the SWDP timetable were made.

Given these changed circumstances, it will be necessary to revise the CIL timeline accordingly. The South Worcestershire Councils will make a decision on this revised timeline in Spring 2014 when the position on the SWDP is clearer . For purposes of clarity, there will not be any progression of CIL through the February 2014 cycle.

The purpose of this note is to clarify the position in the interim, as far as is  possible.

If you have any further questions then please contact John Pattinson at john.pattinson@worcester.gov.uk or ring on either 01905 721105 or 01905 721170.