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Warning over delay to house blueprint
9:59am Thursday 8th November 2012 in News
THE developers behind a 2,450-home expansion of the city of Worcester say they will not stand for any more delays to a major house-building blueprint.
As it stands, there is provision in the South Worcester-shire Development Plan (SWDP) for homes and employment land to be sited at Broomhall to the south east of Worcester.
The SWDP earmarks sites for thousands of new homes over the next 18 years and is the result of five years’ work by Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon councils.
But the plan still has to be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Malvern Hills District Council on Tuesday and another final meeting in December.
The extraordinary meeting was called after a Malvern-appointed policy review group proposed huge changes to the SWDP just weeks before it was due to be signed off.
Now developers controlling the Worcester south urban extension site at Broomhall have written to Malvern council warning that a full planning application will be submitted in the New Year if the councillors call for big changes.
Worcester and Wychavon planners warn that if Malvern supports the changes, the SWDP will have to be binned.
Savills, the agents representing Broomhall developers Welbeck Strategic Land and St Modwen, said the Malvern review group’s proposals to move housing allocations around were shocking and unsupported by evidence.
“We have chosen never to submit an application for our proposals as we wanted to wait and support the SWDP process,” said Michael Davies, of Savills.
But he warned that failure to agree the SWDP meant developers would have no option but to submit planning applications or be beaten to the punch by their competitors.
Mr Davies said that without a co-ordinated plan it would become difficult for councils to raise enough money to pay for long-term infrastructure improvements.
“I sympathise to an extent with Malvern and Wychavon having to accommodate both homes and employment, but the benefits are forgotten – like improving east-west traffic flow on the A4440.”
The developers now must wait for the outcome of the December 10 meeting.
Paul Swinburn, the deputy leader of Malvern, said the council’s leaders fully support the SWDP as it is.
He warned that the policy group’s proposals were too little and too late and that any changes would mean delays which could scupper the SWDP.
He warned that some Malvern councillors had failed to grasp the scale of what confronts them as, without the SWDP and proof of long-term housing supply, developers will imply submit plans for major estates and stood a good chance of forcing them through on appeal.