DROITWICH MP Sir Peter Luff, has hailed the possibility of “the beginning of the end of the relentless attack on Worcestershire’s towns and villages from developers” after new guidance was laid out by the planning minister Nick Bowles.
Sir Peter was reacting to new planning guidance which was introduced this week, and could be used by local authorities and planning inspectors when considering planning applications.
Planning minister Nick Bowles has said the new guidance will aim to curb new developments on flood risk sites; acknowledge that unmet housing need is unlikely to outweigh harm to the green belt in planning debates; ensure infrastructure is in place to support new developments; and be able to keep a track of the council’s history with different developers.
The guidance also seeks to clarify when councils can consider refusing permission to planning applications they consider premature, in terms of draft plans being submitted.
Sir Peter said: “I share the deep concern of so many communities about failures in national planning policies. The planning system is virtually out of control in Wychavon, while we wait for the approval of the new South Worcestershire Development Plan.
“Until we get that plan in place - a plan that will still mean thousands of new houses to meet genuine local need - ?both Wychavon's planners and local communities are effectively at the mercy of developers who can force houses to be built in woefully inappropriate locations. When the SWDP is in place, decisions on locations will not always be popular but they will have been decided locally as part of a proper process. That's why I've been pressing the government's Planning Inspectorate to ensure the SWDP is approved at the earliest possible moment."
the new guidelines come as Roger Clews, the inspector carrying out an examination of the South Worcestershire Development Plan, is holding hearings this week to consider new evidence on how many homes will be needed across the region by 2030.
He has already indicated the sum is likely to be substantially higher than the 23,200 figure originally identified.
Droitwich residents are currently waiting for a decision from the Planning Inspectorate on whether to give permission to two planning applications for developments on land north of Pulley Lane and Newland Lane, one from Barberry Droitwich Ltd for 500 homes and a care facility, and another from Persimmon Homes Ltd for 265 homes
Sir Peter added: “Just how significant these new rules are only time will fully tell. But it is good that the Government are beginning to realise the impact of their policy and trying to put it right.”