South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Issues and Options Consultation

Views are being sought to help shape the future growth of South Worcestershire into the middle of this century.

A public consultation is being launched on Monday, 5 November on the review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP). This will help Malvern Hills District, Worcester City and Wychavon District Councils decide how to best accommodate housing and employment growth in the area to 2041.

This includes the building of another 14,000 new homes to meet demand as well as 169 hectares of employment land to support companies to grow and create new jobs.

The current SWDP was approved by the three South Worcestershire Councils in 2016 and set out proposals to deliver 28,400 new homes and 300 hectares of employment land by 2030.

However, the Government now requires all councils to review their local plans every five years to ensure they are keeping up with the latest housing requirements. Failure to do so could mean councils losing control over where development takes place.

Since December 2017 planners have been collecting and analysing technical evidence which has been used to inform the review so far. Using the Government’s standard methodology it has been calculated an additional 14,000 new homes will be needed by 2041.

This is due to factors such as population increases, more people living in smaller households and affordability. Despite more than 16,500 new homes being built since 2006, many people still struggle to access affordable and housing market. The average house price in South Worcestershire is now £260,000 and the average rental for a one bedroom flat as high as £530 a month.

Planners have also been looking at whether the current SWDP development strategy – which focuses most development at Worcester, Droitwich, Evesham and Malvern – could deliver the new requirement or other options such as a brand new settlement or settlements should feature.

Other issues being looked at include whether or not:

  • Planning rules should be relaxed in town centres to support the viability and vitality of high streets
  • The Green Belt should be used to accommodate some new development
  • New employment land should be provided near new housing or strategic transport sites like railway stations and motorway junctions
  • Electric car charging  points should be required in new developments
  • Developers should have to provide plots to allow people to build their own homes

This work has now been set out in an Issues and Options document and the public and all interested parties are being invited to have their say.

A series of roadshows are being held to provide people with more information and gather views. They take place on:

Saturday 10 Nov CrownGate, Friary Walk, Worcester 10am to 4pm

Tuesday 13 Nov Pump Rooms, Tenbury Wells 2pm to 8pm

Thursday 15 Nov Parish Centre, Droitwich 2pm to 8pm

Tuesday 20 Nov Memorial Hall, Upton upon Severn 2pm to 8pm

Wednesday 21 Nov Town Hall, Pershore 2pm to 8pm

Monday 26 Nov Lyttleton Rooms, Malvern 2pm to 8pm

Thursday 29 Nov Town Hall, Evesham 2pm to 8pm

People will also be able to take part in the consultation online which will be available here from 5 November 2018. The deadline for responses is 5pm on Monday 17 December.

Comments on the Issues and Options will be assessed and will help inform the next stage of the plan making process which will include site specific development proposals which will be the subject of another round of public consultation likely to be  in November next year. A final report will be published for consultation and submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for public examination in 2020. It is hoped a revised SWDP will be approved and published in 2021.

Have your say on south Worcestershire sites for travellers and travelling showpeople

South Worcestershire residents can have their say on an important issue connected with the adopted South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) in a new public consultation opening today.

Residents and other interested parties are being asked for their views on revised proposals for providing sites for travellers and travelling showpeople.

The consultation runs for seven weeks. Printed copies of the consultation documents and forms are available at libraries and council contact centres. The closing date for comments is 18 April 2018.

The proposed locations for pitches are set out in a new Development Plan Document (DPD) jointly prepared by Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council. The DPD also includes policies for meeting the accommodation needs of travellers and travelling showpeople over the next five-to-ten years, as required by national planning policy.

The three councils carried out an assessment of the need for travellers’ pitches and asked for suggestions for sites where pitches could be accommodated. 37 sites were initially put forward in an earlier DPD and were the subject of a public consultation in 2016. As a result of the public feedback, some of those sites were ruled out.

In this latest consultation it is proposed that, between now and 2023, 26 new pitches are provided at seven south Worcestershire locations.

These include existing travellers’ sites at Hillbee Farm, Upton-upon-Severn; The Orchard, Knowle Hill, Evesham; Blossom Hill, Village Street, Aldington and Willows End, Guarlford. Alongside them is a site at Shorthill Caravan Park, Crossway Green, near Stourport, where temporary planning permission is already in place for a travellers’ site.

There are four sites in this new consultation which were not looked at in 2016. Public drop-in sessions have been set up for each of them, so that local residents can find out more from planning officers.

  • Mountain View, Bastonford, near Powick – drop-in session at Powick Village Hall, Malvern Rd, Powick, WR2 4RT on Thursday 8 March, 3:30pm-8pm
  • An extension to the existing site at Willows End, Guarlford, Great Malvern – drop-in session at Guarlford Village Hall, 4 Penny Lane, Guarlford Malvern, WR13 6PG on Wednesday 14 March, 2pm-8pm
  • Bretforton Rd, Badsey; and Village St, Aldington – drop-in session at Badsey Remembrance Hall, Horsebridge Avenue, Badsey Evesham, WR11 7XD on Wednesday 28 March, 2pm-8pm

To meet the longer term need for pitches beyond 2023, the DPD includes the option of two possible sites within the Worcester “urban extensions”, due to be built on the southern edge of the city at Broomhall and Norton Barracks and at Temple Laugherne on the western edge of Worcester.

Councillor Bradley Thomas, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “We listened to the consultation responses in 2016 and, as a result, ruled out some of the sites that had been proposed.

“We still need to ensure there are enough sites available in south Worcestershire, so I would urge residents and interested parties to get involved and give their views through this latest consultation.”

Community Infrastructure Levy – Statement of Modifications Consultation

A new consultation has been launched today (25 July) seeking views on the proposed changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule (DCS).

The South Worcestershire Councils (SWC) of Malvern Hills, Worcester City, and Wychavon have now considered the representations made to the CIL DCS consultation, which ran from April to May 2016, and will be submitting the CIL documentation to the Planning Inspectorate for joint examination from Tuesday 26 July 2016. This is in accordance with Regulation 19 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended).

The Regulations (19(4)) also require that an opportunity is provided to all those who were invited to comment on the DCS to make further representations, to the appointed CIL examiner, on the statement of modifications to the DCS. The modifications have either resulted from representations made earlier in the year to the DCS Regulation 16 stage, or are any other minor amendments that the SWC have identified in reviewing the draft documentation prior to submission.

The consultation has been extended to 5:00pm on Friday 26 August 2016.

Please note this is not a further opportunity to make comments on the DCS but only on the changes proposed in the statement of modifications.

Representations will be considered by the independent examiner, appointed by the Planning Inspectorate, to examine the submitted CIL later in the autumn of 2016. This further stage in the process moving towards adoption of the CIL in early 2017 is part of a program of work set out in the Local Development Scheme that was published by the SWC in October 2015.

Please follow this link to be directed to the statement of modifications consultation page.

South Worcestershire Development Plan adopted by councils

The South Worcestershire Development Plan, designed to provide jobs and homes up to 2030, has been fully adopted. The Plan will boost the local economy and deliver sustainable development.

Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – the three partners involved in the preparation of the Plan – have each met this week and approved the adoption of the SWDP.

The Plan will enable the development of nearly 300 hectares of employment land and the building of 28,400 new homes between 2006 and 2030. A significant amount of the development included in it has already taken place or planning permission has already been given.

The SWDP has been jointly prepared by the three councils over a period of more than five years and has been the subject of multiple public consultations and a Public Examination conducted by a Government-appointed Inspector.

His report concluded earlier this month that, with modifications that have already been consulted on and approved by the three councils, the Plan is sound and legally compliant.

Councillor Melanie Baker, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “The Plan is all about ensuring residents can find the homes and the jobs they need to enjoy happy and successful lives and careers in south Worcestershire. The SWDP will also help us achieve the economic growth our area needs over the next 14 years and deliver a range of jobs and housing, including a proportion of affordable homes, to help people get on to the property ladder.

“Adoption of the SWDP allows the three councils to drive sustainable development, and promote homes and jobs in suitable locations that are supported by the appropriate infrastructure and services. It will also give greater powers to resist speculative planning applications for unsustainable or harmful development on sites that are not allocated in the SWDP.

“I would like to thank all the officers who have worked so hard on this Plan, the members of all three councils for providing their input and giving it their approval – particularly those who sat on the Joint Advisory Panel – and, most importantly, the residents of south Worcestershire for engaging with the many public consultations we have held over the Plan.”

In addition to the much needed new homes, the SWDP sets out plans for just over 300 hectares of vital employment land as well as new retail provision focused in Worcester City and the main towns.

The new housing is all set to be built within or on the edges of existing settlements. Development in smaller villages without key services or in the open countryside has generally been avoided, although there will be some new housing in larger villages with local services, especially where planning permission was granted during the preparation of the SWDP.

Full details of the Plan are available at www.swdevelopmentplan.org.

Government Inspector backs South Worcestershire Development Plan

The official Examination of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), conducted by a Government-appointed independent Inspector, has concluded that the Plan is sound and can now go forward with a recommendation for adoption by the three councils that prepared it.The Plan sets out a long term vision for south Worcestershire, with the emphasis on boosting the local economy and delivering sustainable housing development, up to the year 2030. It includes plans for 28,400 new homes as well as land for retail and employment.

Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council have jointly prepared the Plan and each of them will now be asked to formally adopt it at meetings on 23 and 24 February.

The Inspector, Roger Clews, has today published his report on the Plan, concluding that it is sound and legally compliant, following an Examination that began in October 2013.

In the report the Inspector says: “The South Worcestershire Development Plan provides an appropriate basis for the planning of Worcester city and the Malvern Hills and Wychavon districts.”

His report has today been published at www.swdevelopmentplan.org.

The Examination led to the councils producing a range of “main modifications” to the SWDP including an increase from the original housing number of 23,200. It is these modifications, already approved by the three councils, which enabled the Inspector to judge the SWDP as being sound.

Councillor Melanie Baker, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Inspector has given the Plan a clean bill of health. I am hoping all three councils can now move rapidly to adopting the Plan, which will be a vital tool in delivering the economic growth we need and providing the housing our current and future residents want.

“The SWDP sets out where employment and housing development is to take place, and once it is formally adopted we will have greater powers to resist speculative planning applications for unsustainable or harmful development on sites that are not allocated in the Plan.”

The Inspector has accepted that the SWDP is based on extensive evidence and public consultations.

The Plan covers the period from 2006 to 2030. That means a significant amount of the development included in it has already taken place or planning permission has already been given.

In addition to the 28,400 new homes, the SWDP sets out plans for just over 300 hectares of employment land as well as new retail provision focused in Worcester City and the main towns.

The new housing is all set to be built within or on the edges of existing settlements. Development in smaller villages or the open countryside has generally been avoided, although there will be some new housing in larger villages with local services where planning permission was granted during the preparation of the SWDP.

Councillor Baker added: “It is heartening that the Inspector has accepted the strength of the case for three councils producing a strong joint Plan and that the basic building blocks of our strategy for growth and its distribution are sound – in particular the Plan’s approach to the settlement hierarchy, settlement boundaries, maintaining of the Green Belt, and the retention of Significant Gaps and green space. The Inspector has also endorsed the links between proposed development and infrastructure provision.

“Housing sites are obviously one of the main focuses of the Plan, however it is important to remember that the SWDP also contains a major overhaul of all of our planning policies and establishes a consistent set of development management policies for south Worcestershire as a whole.”

The main development sites set out in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (a significant number of which already have planning permission) include:

  • Worcester south “urban extension” – 20 hectares of employment land and 2,600 new dwellings at the Broomhall and Norton Barracks sites on the southern edge of Worcester
  • Worcester west “urban extension” – five hectares of employment land and 2,150 dwellings at Temple Laugherne on the western edge of Worcester
  • 1,250 dwellings on smaller sites within Worcester city. The largest of these are Gregory’s Bank industrial estate (169 dwellings – construction has already begun) and the former Crown Packaging site (230 dwellings)
  • Retail-led development at three city centre sites at Cathedral Square, Trinity House & the Cornmarket, and the Crowngate/Angel Place area
  • Around 750 dwellings at Worcester’s Shrub Hill opportunity zone, along with mixed use and commercial development on a 19.72-hectare site
  • Kilbury Drive, Worcester – 250 dwellings
  • Gwillam’s Farm, north of Worcester – 250 dwellings
  • Swinesherd Way, south east of Worcester – 300 dwellings
  • Worcester Six business park (next to M5 Junction 6) – 16 hectares of employment land for research and development; manufacturing related to environmental and new technologies; or associated businesses
  • Pershore – around 695 dwellings at an urban extension to the north of the town, off Station road; an employment site of five hectares to the north east, off Wyre Road; and 82 new dwellings on smaller sites
  • Droitwich – urban extensions at Copcut Lane (740 homes and 3.5 hectares of employment land) and Yew Tree Hill (765 homes and 200-unit extra care facility); 10 hectares of employment land at Stonebridge Cross Business Park; and 226 dwellings on smaller sites
  • Evesham – 500 homes in the Cheltenham Road urban extension; 200 dwellings at Abbey Road; 400 homes south of Pershore Road, Hampton and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Avon; 34 hectares of employment land at Vale Industrial Park; and around 500 dwellings on smaller sites
  • Newland, Malvern – 800 dwellings and 10 hectares of employment in an urban extension north east of Malvern Link
  • Malvern Hills district – 495 dwellings on smaller allocated sites, including 110 at the former Howsell Road allotments
  • Malvern Technology Centre (QinetiQ), Great Malvern – 4.5 hectares of new employment land; 300 dwellings
  • Blackmore Park, Malvern – 5.1 hectares of employment land off Blackmore Park Road, south of Great Malvern
  • Tenbury Wells – 162 dwellings on four sites
  • Upton-upon-Severn – 138 dwellings on two sites

Key facts

The SWDP provides 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 policies for dealing with four broad areas:

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

Full details of the Plan are available at www.swdevelopmentplan.org.

The proposals build on the work done between 2007 and 2010 on the South Worcestershire Joint Core Strategy.

The Draft Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent Examination in May 2013 and the Examination began in October 2013.

The plan covers the period 2006 to 2030. Of the 28,400 new homes allocated in the plan, 8,623 had already been built by 31 March 2015 and 8,084 already have planning permission.