Lib Dem leaders hit out as Evesham's development plan delayed further - The Evesham Observer

Lib Dem leaders hit out as Evesham's development plan delayed further

Evesham Editorial 21st Feb, 2024   0

Leaders of the Liberal Democrat groups across Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon are calling for answers as the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) has been postponed again.

An update provided to councillors late last week (Thursday, February 15) confirmed another delay, but an exact timeline is not available as discussions continue.

The development plan is the blueprint for the three councils to build 11,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

The 11,000 homes are in addition to 28,400 already planned for Worcester, Malvern Hills and Wychavon between now and 2030.

Plans were submitted for review by the Planning Inspectorate in September 2023, two years behind schedule.

Inspectors were assigned in December and raised major concerns about evidence used in the plan now being over two years old and likely out of date.

Another key concern raised is around the transport modelling, which shows how traffic moves around the area. Residents have also expressed serious concerns over the impact of new housing on the road network.

Wychavon District Council’s Lib Dem leader believes without a development plan, rules are stacked in the favour of developers and against local communities.

“We have always been told that our concerns are unfounded. Now we are staring at yet another delay, while developers take the opportunity to slip under the plan.”

An update from Wychavon District Council told representatives evidence documents will need to be updated before public hearings can go ahead. The council say this decision will avoid further delays later on in the process.

Worcester City Councillor and Lib Dem leader in the region, coun Mel Allcott has referred to the whole situation as confusing, with a constant back and forth from an on track plan to repeated delays.

She said: “What has been submitted to the inspector may not even be fit for purpose. By the time any plan is approved, it is likely we will have hundreds more homes being built than we needed.”

Chair of the Joint Advisory Panel for the SWDP, Worcester City Coun Pat Agar detailed the importance of the plan being properly scrutinised and based on the ‘most robust evidence possible’.

She said: “We will now work on producing the new and updated evidence requested as soon as possible so we can proceed to the next stage of the examination process.”

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