Consultation starts on SWDP Review
A six-week public consultation has started on a key planning document that will shape the future development of South Worcestershire.
The revised South Worcestershire Development plan allocates land for 13,240 additional new homes and 290.7 hectares of employment land to be delivered by 2041. This will help meet the Government requirement to allocate land to build 26,360 new homes and 350.5 hectares of employment land across South Worcestershire from 2021 to 2041. Not all sites in the Plan are new, with some being carried over from the last version of the SWDP and sites that already have planning permission being taken into account.
The majority of the new housing will be met through strategic growth sites at Worcestershire Parkway, Throckmorton, Rushwick and Mitton.
The public are being asked to comment on whether they consider the review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan is sound and legally compliant. To be considered sound the Plan must have been positively prepared, based on robust, credible evidence, show a clear deliverable vision and be consistent with national planning policies.
On top of this the three South Worcestershire Councils – Worcester City, Malvern Hills District and Wychavon District Councils – must also show they have complied with planning legislation including the legal duty to help neighbouring councils meet their strategic housing needs.
Comments can be made from Tuesday 1 November until 11.59pm on Tuesday 13 December 2022. Only comments made during the consultation can be considered.
People can comment by filling in the online comment form available on our website at www.swdevelopmentplan.org/review.Paper copies are also available from Customer Contact Centres, local libraries and some parish and town council offices.
A series of public information events are being held to help describe the proposed growth at each of the strategic sites and give people the chance to ask questions.
These will be held on the following dates:
- Rushwick expanded settlement - Thursday 3 November 1200-2000 at Rushwick Village Hall, Bransford Road, Rushwick, WR2 5TA
- Worcestershire Parkway new settlement – Wednesday 9 November 1200-2000 at Norton Parish Hall, Wadborough Road, Littleworth, WR5 2QB
- Mitton - Friday 11 November 1300-2000 at Bredon Village Hall, Main Road, Bredon, GL20 7QN
- Throckmorton new settlement - Monday 14 November 1300-2000 at Bishampton Village Hall, Broad Lane, Bishampton, WR10 2LU
After the consultation all comments will be passed on to the Planning Inspectorate. The Plan will then go for Examination where it will be scrutinised in detail to make sure it is sound and legal. A series of public hearings may also be held where people will have the chance to make representations and ask questions providing that they have responded to this consultation.
It is expected the plan will be formally adopted by the South Worcestershire Councils in late 2023.
Cllr David Harrison, Chairman of the South Worcestershire Development Plan Joint Advisory Panel, said: "At this stage we are seeking views on whether people feel the Plan meets the test of soundness and is legally compliant. We cannot make changes to the Plan at this time; however, all comments will be passed to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration. There is a lot of information available through the SWDP website and in local libraries to help people understand what is being proposed and how to comment. I urge people to get involved with the consultation and to make their views known."
The current South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) covers the period 2006 to 2030 and is based on extensive evidence and previous consultations. It has been jointly prepared by the three partner councils – Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon.
The Review will extend the period the plan covers from 2030 up to 2041.
The SWDP Review includes policies for dealing with four broad areas:
- Creating jobs and economic prosperity
- Meeting housing needs
- The environment.
Most of the new housing will be provided through new settlements, known as strategic sites. These will be located close to existing or new railway links. Clear layout (concept) plans have been prepared for each area. Providing new greenspaces will also be a key part of the Plan. A range of house types will be provided to meet the future requirements of our area's population. Consideration has been given for people of different age groups and with health needs.
Development will be completed in phases over time and developers will be asked for payments known as "developer contributions" to support, and where necessary, deliver local infrastructure.
The strategic sites are as follows:
- Worcestershire Parkway - Up to 2041, 5,000 new homes will be built at this location with up to 40% affordable housing and 50 hectares of employment land to build a new settlement based on garden community principles. Another 5,000 homes are planned after 2041. The settlement will be carbon neutral with renewable energy providing the development's energy needs. The focus will be on making sure residents' needs are met near to where they live including a new town centre, schools, local neighbourhood centres and community facilities. Together with investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, it will promote sustainability and reduce dependency on the car.
- Throckmorton - A carbon neutral settlement of 2,000 homes with 40% affordable housing and 20 hectares of employment land will be created by 2041. In the second phase after 2041, another 3,000 new homes are planned, as well as 40 hectares of employment land. Again, the focus will be on delivering sustainability with a town centre, schools and community facilities forming part of the proposals. New infrastructure will include direct walking and cycling links to Pershore Railway Station to reduce the need to travel by car.
- Rushwick - 1,000 new homes are planned as well as 5 hectares of employment land, a new railway station, primary school, retail and other supporting services including a new or improved village hall, community park, allotments and orchards. Up to 40% of the housing will be affordable and no development will be allowed before land necessary to enable the railway station to be built and other critical infrastructure has been secured.
- Mitton - Land near Mitton close to Bredon and next to Tewkesbury town, has also been identified to provide 1,000 new homes, 500 of which will be to meet neighbouring Tewkesbury Borough Council's housing need. This agreement is part of the legal Duty to Cooperate which requires councils to support each other's strategic planning needs. A new primary school, community facilities and walking and cycling links are included in the proposal.
Smaller sites have also been identified for new housing in each area during the plan period. In Worcester City 866 new homes are planned, 594 in Malvern, 10 in Tenbury and 376 in rural villages across the Malvern Hills District. In Wychavon 916 new homes have been allocated to Droitwich Spa, 255 in Evesham, 212 in Pershore and 1,069 in rural villages across the district.
As well as housing, the new Plan provides 290.7 hectares of new employment land to support business growth, renewed protections to prevent development on the Green Belt and around 179 hectares of new recreational open green space for people to enjoy.
There are also new and enhanced policies supporting each councils' efforts to protect the environment and tackle climate change. Measures within these policies include:
- Developments must be designed to minimise car use
- Developers must provide the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in each new home
- Sustainable materials and construction techniques must be used
- At least 20% of predicted energy use by a development must come from renewable or low carbon energy sources
- Sites for new solar farms have been identified
- Sites for Informal Areas of Recreation (AIRs) have been identified
- Developments must provide measurable net gains in biodiversity
- Polices to protect valued landscapes and landscape character
- Policies to manage and mitigate against flood risk
- Policies to make the most effective use of land
Full details of the Plan are available at www.swdevelopmentplan.org/review