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Planning boss hits back at neighbours
THE elected boss of Worcester’s planning system has accused rival councils of “conjecture and emotion” in trying to derail a key county blueprint for growth.
Councillor David Wilkinson, who chairs the city’s planning committee, says he “cannot believe” the arguments from authorities in Birmingham and the Black Country have merit.
The Conservative is the latest of a series of politicians to urge a government inspector to sign off the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).
As your Worcester News recently revealed, the rival councils have told inspector Roger Clews the county’s blueprint is too ambitious because it includes too many jobs.
Coun Wilkinson said: “If you look at the facts surrounding this, the examination is about the ‘soundness’ of the plan.
"Any interested parties are perfectly entitled to put forward their views, but this is conjecture and emotion on the part of the West Midlands authorities.
“I cannot believe it would fundamentally undermine the stability of the West Midlands’ (councils) plan.
“Are they seriously saying if we didn’t earmark a particular site for employment then a business looking to move here would go to Longbridge instead, for example? I don’t think so.
“There is no substance to the argument and I don’t think the inspector will support what they are saying.”
During a four-day public examination held last week, David Carter, Birmingham’s head of planning and growth and Ian Culley, representing the Black Country councils, suggested it should be cut down.
The duo told Mr Clews the 280 hectares of employment land in the plan, designed to help create 25,000 new jobs, threatens the prosperity of their towns and cities.
The development plan, which has been backed by councils in Worcester, Wychavon and Malvern, also contains provision for 25,000 new homes by 2030.
Mr Clews is expected to announce soon whether to recommend any changes, or proceed to the final section of his examination, known as stage two.
Once adopted it will be used by all three south Worcestershire councils when deciding upon planning applications.
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