Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Meeting called on controversial plans
WORCESTERSHIRE councillors have demanded an extraordinary meeting to debate a new report that could consign controversial plans for an 800-home development in Malvern to the scrapheap.
Since July, a cross-party policy group of Malvern Hills District councillors has been examining alternatives to the current housing allocations in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).
The group’s report has now been completed and presented to councillors – although its contents remain closely guarded from members of the public.
However, it is understood that it calls for an unpopular urban extension of 700 homes at Newland to be slashed to 250 properties, with the remainder being re-allocated to other sites in South Worcestershire.
The site is already being eyed up by developers and Gleeson Strategic Land has produced detailed plans of its vision for the land.
On Wednesday, a demand for an extraordinary meeting to consider the contents of the report and decide whether to put them out to public consultation was approved by the council. A public meeting will now take place on a date to be fixed.
Councillor Tom Wells, leader of the opposition, said the call for an extraordinary meeting had found support among members of all political parties.
“This is an unprecedented step but it demonstrates the seriousness and importance of the subject,” he said.
He said he could not comment on any of the details of the report, but was keen for it to be placed into the public domain as soon as possible.
“I am hoping we will establish a way forward in recognising and accepting the report,” he said. “If that means further, targeted public consultation, then we need to get on quickly.”
Another councillor, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was outrageous the contents of the report were being kept a secret and that such extreme measures were required to have them debated as a matter of urgency.
A further public consultation would delay the current timetable for the SWDP.
As things stand, it will be debated by the district council and Wychavon and Worcester City councils at meetings on Tuesday, November 27, and – subject to approval – sent for government inspection and a likely adoption in late 2013.