Sir Peter speaks out over planning problems

DROITWICH MP Sir Peter Luff has spoken out about the ‘sense of betrayal’ he believes local people are feeling over local planning policies.

Speaking at a recent meeting, he commented on the fact that 626 new homes were started in mid-Worcestershire in 2013, when the national average was only 185

He said: “These figures show that our area is more than pulling its weight when it comes to dealing with the housing crisis in the UK.

“But we are still being ‘punished’ for not having a local plan in place – and the only reason we are late getting one is that the government failed to abolish the old top-down system of Regional Spatial Strategies in good time. We followed government policy, but by doing so we have unwittingly handed much of the power of decision on new housing to the developers.

“In fact, the government should be acknowledging the way in which we welcome new houses – if they are built in the right place in accordance with locally expressed preferences.

“Wychavon District Council want to do the right thing and build the new homes that we need, but still the Planning Inspectorate make it clear they expect even more. The result is a demoralised district council and angry communities.

“It really is time for the government to say that the council is free to oppose the continuing speculative development in the wrong places. All it needs to do is to say the planning permissions granted will count against our target –and to commit to ensuring that our new local plan, the South Worcestershire Development Plan, which is now at an advanced stage, can be the test of new applications from developers. It’s that simple.”

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