Planning changes would be welcome step forward, says Worcester MP

Worcester MP Robin Walker

Worcester MP Robin Walker

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

PLANS to make major changes to the planning system have been welcomed by Worcester’s MP.

Robin Walker says the changes should protect valued heritage sites from the bulldozer.

The government wants to shake up guidelines for councils next year and give them more powers to refuse applications to develop land.

Under the policy, “locally valued” landscapes and sites regarded as important to an area’s heritage would be safeguarded.

Such a move could be vital in cities like Worcester, where campaigners are protesting over attempts to develop green areas like Middle Battenhall Farm.

Across south Worcestershire, room still needs to be found for another 5,000 properties by 2030 to reach the figure of 28,370 required under a development blueprint.

Business and energy minister Michael Fallon has written to MPs to reveal that changes are now afoot in 2015.

The changes, which are expected to be subject to the Coalition surviving a general election, comes after several changes in planning rules to encourage more building.

And Mr Walker said he was backing Mr Fallon’s proposals.

“I’ve written to him to say I am very supportive of a shift in that direction,” he said.

“I’m very keen that planning focus should be on protecting locally valued heritage sites.

“Certainly there are sites in Worcester that are important and we want to protect.”

Two weeks ago, Dame Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust, said councils are being “hustled” into allowing development on greenfield land because of the pressures.

The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), which runs to 2030, has just finished a government inspection and councils in Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon need to find room for 5,000 homes before it can be finalised.

Middle Battenhall Farm, one of Worcester’s most popular green lungs, is not earmarked for any properties, but Miller Homes has submitted a planning application to build 200 properties on the site.

It has ran into huge opposition from residents, including from The Battlefields Trust, which says the land played a key role in the Battle of Worcester and needs protection.

Last year changes to planning rules introduced a “presumption of sustainable development” to force through more building.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:34pm Thu 1 May 14

i-cycle says...

At last, Eric Pickles and chums have realised what all the experts have been telling them. Their so-called New Planning Policy Framework was going to be stacked against local interests and in favour of the big developers that it would cause major problems.

What the Coalition Government has just announced is a major "U" turn and admission that they got it wrong.

Unfortunately it may be too late for many of the sites that have already slipped through when the planning system was so weakened.

That said the three local MPs are to be congratulated for at least raising these obvious concerns with their own coalition colleagues.

Hopefully its not too late to prevent the other planning proposals that are in the pipeline that don't reflect what's best and needed for our local communities.
At last, Eric Pickles and chums have realised what all the experts have been telling them. Their so-called New Planning Policy Framework was going to be stacked against local interests and in favour of the big developers that it would cause major problems. What the Coalition Government has just announced is a major "U" turn and admission that they got it wrong. Unfortunately it may be too late for many of the sites that have already slipped through when the planning system was so weakened. That said the three local MPs are to be congratulated for at least raising these obvious concerns with their own coalition colleagues. Hopefully its not too late to prevent the other planning proposals that are in the pipeline that don't reflect what's best and needed for our local communities. i-cycle
  • Score: 5

8:28pm Thu 1 May 14

skychip says...

Glad the Government is beginning to see sense but may be a bit late for some applications already passed.
Glad the Government is beginning to see sense but may be a bit late for some applications already passed. skychip
  • Score: 3

9:46am Fri 2 May 14

green49 says...

Walker should congradulate Pickels for such a mess he has made so far.
Walker should congradulate Pickels for such a mess he has made so far. green49
  • Score: 1

6:25pm Fri 2 May 14

3thinker says...

Perhaps time for local people to exercise their democratic rights in the local government elections on 22nd May and let the Government know what 'Localism' is really about?
Perhaps time for local people to exercise their democratic rights in the local government elections on 22nd May and let the Government know what 'Localism' is really about? 3thinker
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree