Worcester needs nearly 30,000 new homes by 2030
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Local Government
The inspector responsible for examining the South Worcestershire development plan (SWDP) has recommended that 28,370 homes need to be built in the area by 2030.
However, he has also said that nearly 5,000 of those homes have in fact already been built – because the plan covers the period since 2006.
The inspector’s recommended figure is higher than the 23,200 in the plan that was submitted to the government last year and a slight increase on the 27,300 proposed by the three partner councils in January.
But the figure is considerably fewer than the 36,000 some developers called for during public hearings in October and March.
It is also 2,200 fewer than would have been required under the old West Midlands regional spatial strategy, which the coalition government abolished shortly after coming to power in 2010.
Councillor Judy Pearce, who chairs the South Worcestershire joint advisory panel that leads work on the SWDP, said: “We know many people will be unhappy at the level of housing the inspector has proposed, but the only way we can secure a locally-controlled future for south Worcestershire is to ensure that the plan gets to the stage where it can be adopted as quickly as possible.
“Once adopted, the SWDP will give the three councils control over where new homes and businesses are built. Without it, we face a future where developers can try to build almost anywhere and our powers to resist their applications would be very limited.”
Each of the three councils preparing the plan - Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council – will be asked in the summer to formally accept the inspector’s recommendation.
Work has begun to identify potential sites where the additional homes could be built.
All will be assessed for a range of factors, including access to infrastructure, transport links and whether they are prone to flooding.
A preferred list of sites will then go to the three councils at their summer meetings. A six-week consultation will subsequently be launched to give the public the chance to have their say on the new proposals. The consultation will be concluded by the end of September.
The councils have already told the inspector that they will continue to follow the strategy of the SWDP, which is to concentrate development in and around existing communities, rather than create new towns and villages.
The plan formally covers the period between 2006 and 2030. That means 4,909 homes that were built between 2006 and 2012 count as part of the 28,370. A further 3,785 new homes that were already being built or had been given planning permission by 2012 also count towards that total.