An official review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), the document that sets out policies for providing jobs and homes up to 2030, has begun.
The Government requires that the Plan – prepared by Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – is reviewed every five years to ensure it is keeping up to date with housing requirements.
The review will take into account the Government’s guidance for setting housing requirements and will also look at the latest population growth figures and 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.
Councillor Bradley Thomas, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “The need for more housing across the UK is rarely out of the headlines at the moment, with the Government having recently committed itself to seeing 300,000 new homes built every year by the mid-2020s.
“Every part of the country will be required to play its part, so in south Worcestershire we need to make sure we continue to deliver a plan-led approach to meet the housing needs of our future population over the next 23 years.
“The review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan will mean we are getting ready for the housing, schools, roads and other infrastructure needed by 2041.”
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 review will look at demographic data and other information to develop policies on the levels of housing, employment land and infrastructure that will be needed by 2041.
An informal launch event has been held with a range of stakeholders, including infrastructure providers. Parish and Town councils in south Worcestershire will be invited to a similar event in March, to help them get involved in the process.
The Government is expected to publish a new draft version of its National Planning Policy Framework in the spring. The review of the SWDP will be conducted in line with the rules established in the new Framework.