Development plan for south of the county delayed by pandemic
The completion of the review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan has been delayed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was hoped the document would be ready for public examination in early 2021 but lockdown restrictions have made it impossible to complete a number of technical assessments and evidence gathering needed to support the plan.
They include additional traffic and air quality modelling, which cannot be carried out currently as vehicle movements are still not close enough to pre-lockdown levels.
Over the next few months the necessary assessments and studies will take place.
The plan to be sent for public examination will be published, subject to approval by all three South Worcestershire councils, in October, 2021.
It will then be submitted to the Secretary of State in February, 2022.
It is expected it will then be examined before the end of 2022 and adopted shortly after.
Conservative councillor Lucy Hodgson, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “We’re disappointed we have to push back the SWDP timetable but it was unavoidable given the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Many consultants needed to complete the technical work required remain on furlough and any data we capture now about traffic movements or air quality would not give us a reliable picture.
“Given the importance of this document to meeting future demand for housing and economic growth in South Worcestershire, it’s important the plan is robust so it’s right we take the time to do this work.”
The revised SWDP sets out how a Government requirement to build another 14,000 new homes across the Worcester City, Wychavon and Malvern Hills districts by 2041 will be met.
That is on top of the need for 28,400 new homes by 2030, more than half of which have already been built, set out in the current plan.
The last version of the South Worcestershire Development Plan included proposals to build:
- A new town at Worcestershire Parkway providing 5,000 homes by 2041, with the potential for another 5,000 after that
- A new town at Throckmorton Airfield providing 2,000 new homes from 2030 with the potential for further expansion in the future
- An expanded settlement at Rushwick providing 1,000 new homes from 2030 once a new railway station has been secured
- Plans for 810 new homes on various sites around Worcester, more than 700 at Droitwich Spa, more than 200 in Evesham, almost 900 in Malvern, more than 660 in Pershore and 60 in Tenbury Wells and more than 900 new homes earmarked for villages across Wychavon and 390 within Malvern Hills District.
On top of that the document contained plans for providing another 273 hectares of employment land to allow for the growth of businesses and job creation.
More detail about the proposals in the preferred options document can be viewed by clicking on the link: http://moderngov.malvernhills.gov.uk. Full details of the plan are available at www.swdevelopmentplan.org