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Call for sites launched as part of review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan

Councils are asking for information on land that could potentially be suitable for future housing and employment development in south Worcestershire.

The “call for sites” is part of the official review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), that will see the blueprint for providing jobs and homes extended to 2041, as required by the Government.

Anyone who has an interest in land that could be suitable and deliverable for potential development is being asked to register it at www.swdevelopmentplan.org. They will need to complete a form on the website, initially giving brief details of the land that is being suggested.

Councillor Bradley Thomas, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “The Government now requires all local plans to be reviewed every five years, and the time period they cover to be extended.

“We need to get an idea, at an early stage, of where land could be available for new housing or employment developments that might be needed as the Plan period is extended into the future, so this call for sites is an important part of the work to review the SWDP.

“I would urge anyone who owns or controls land that might be suitable and potentially deliverable – even if it’s a site that has been included in any of our previous studies – to contact us.”

Town and parish councils, neighbourhood forums, agents, developers, landowners, businesses and local interest groups will all be contacted as part of the call for sites. However, anyone who knows of suitable and deliverable land is welcome to suggest it at www.swdevelopmentplan.org by 5pm on Monday July 2.

At the same time, the three councils preparing the revised SWDP – Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – are also asking for comments on the approach they take to reviewing the suitability of land. This is known as the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA), and organisations and residents can respond to this consultation at www.swdevelopmentplan.org.

The South Worcestershire Development Plan currently sets out policies for providing jobs and homes up to 2030.

The review now underway will take into account the Government’s new guidance for setting housing requirements and will also look at changes in the population and the consequent demands for housing and employment, along with many other factors, so that the SWDP period can be extended until 2041.

Initial work on gathering evidence for the review has begun and an “issues and options” document will be published for public consultation towards the end of this year. A further consultation and a public examination will follow over the following three years, and the three councils aim to adopt the revised SWDP in November 2021.

The current SWDP includes policies to enable the development of nearly 300 hectares of employment land and the building of 28,400 new homes between 2006 and 2030.

The Government is currently consulting on a new draft version of its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was published in draft earlier this year. The review of the SWDP will be conducted in line with the rules established in the NPPF and any final changes the Government includes in the final version of the new Framework.