Planning Policy

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Planning applications are determined by either the Local Planning Authority (i.e. Wychavon District Council) or the Planning Inspectorate, and in exceptional circumstances the Secretary of State. The decisions have to be principally based on the application of planning policy. The principal planning policy documents used in Wychavon District are:

National Planning Policy Framework

The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published on 24 July 2018. This supersedes the NPPF which was published in March 2012, which replaced all Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs) and Planning Policy Statements (PPSs). It sets out the priorities for planning in England and places significant emphasis on sustainable development, and the requirement to reflect presumption of sustainable development in Local Plans.

Further information about the NPPF can be found on the Communities and Local Government website.

South Worcestershire Development Plan

The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) replaced the Wychavon District Local Plan (2006) when adopted on 25 February 2016 to become the main consideration in the determination of planning applications and appeals in Wychavon.

Wychavon, Malvern Hills and Worcester City Councils joined together to prepare a Development Plan with the aim of ensuring that future development within south Worcestershire is well planned and managed effectively, whilst having a positive impact on the environment.

The SWDP considers the long term vision and objectives for south Worcestershire up to the year 2030, as well as containing the policies for delivering these objectives in a planned and cohesive manner, through:

  • allocating larger ‘strategic' sites across south Worcestershire;
  • providing policies to ensure that any development is sustainable;
  • assessing all other potential development sites whether it is for housing, employment, retail, education, health, community use or indeed an open space use;
  • replacing existing Local Plans of these three partner councils;
  • superseding elements of the Worcestershire County Council's County Structure Plan

The South Worcestershire Councils (SWC) i.e. Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon started a review of the SWDP in late 2017. This is in line with new Government requirements that local plans should be updated every five years, and therefore a revised SWDP is required by 2021. The review will provide an updated plan period to the year 2041.

The plan will update the existing SWDP and where necessary its Vision, Objectives, Spatial Strategy and policies for the future development of the South Worcestershire area. The second part of the plan includes site allocations, policies and policy designations that will provide for the development needs of the area up to 2041.

What does the planning policy framework contain?

The planning policy framework consists of a series of Local Development Documents (LDDs). These include Development Plan Documents (DPDs), Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) and the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI); together with associated management and monitoring documents.

  • The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the timetable for the documents that the Council will be producing as part of its Local Plan.
  • The Authorities' Monitoring Report (AMR) reports progress against the timetable set out in the LDS and assesses the extent to which development plan policies are being implemented.
  • The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out how and when you can become involved in plan-making and development control decisions.
  • The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) is a joint Development Plan Document involving collaborative work between Malvern Hills District, Worcester City and Wychavon District Councils.
  • Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD). SPDs do not have 'development plan' status but are used to provide more detail on how policies set out in the development plan will be applied. SPDs are subject to public consultation and are 'material considerations' in the determination of planning applications.
  • Neighbourhood Planning - The Government is promoting the production of Neighbourhood Plans. These are different to parish/town plans in that once they are published they will be part of the Development Plan. They are required to be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan. However they can include sites for housing, employment and community uses where appropriate.  They can also include policies  with respect to detailed matters such as the design of buildings, environment, economic development and an adopted neighbourhood plans will be one of the principal material consideration in determining planning applications. More information can be found on the neighbourhood planning page.
  • Parish / town plan or village design statement - Should a community wish to prepare a parish or town plan, or village design statement they are still able to do so and the council will look to adopt them as a Local Information Source that gives them limited material weight when determining planning applications.   

Our policy publications are available to view by following the link to Planning Services Publications.


Contact us

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on (01386) 565565 or alternatively email the team at