CONTROVERSIAL Government changes to the planning could see an ‘eye-watering’ 28,000 new homes built across Wychavon district in the next two decades, leading Liberal Democrats have claimed.
Party chiefs spoke out after the Government revealed a major shake-up of house building across the country to deliver the ‘high-quality, sustainable homes communities need’ earlier this month.
Local communities will be consulted from the very beginning of the planning process, more houses on brownfield land and major changes to the planning system to ensure a ‘clearer, rules based system’ are among the ideas being proposed by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP.
While the Government has hailed the proposals as ‘the most significant reforms to housing policy in decades’, Wychavon Liberal Democrat councillors have reacted with ‘shock and disbelief’ and claim house building in the district would rise 280 per cent from 499 a year to 1,375 a year.
The current proposals in the review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan blueprint envisage about 10,000 additional new houses in Wychavon up to 2041.
But party chiefs told the Observer the Government’s proposals would ensure a further 18,000 homes in the same time period and claimed the plan would ‘change Wychavon beyond recognition’.
“It would mean huge new estates of more than 5.000 houses in Pershore, Evesham and Droitwich, or three more new towns in the district on top of the two already proposed at Parkway and Throckmorton,” Lib Dem group leader Coun Margaret Rowley claimed.
“It would devastate our countryside and destroy our natural environment, making a nonsense of plans for a carbon-neutral Wychavon.”
“It claims to be designed to increase housing affordability, while at the same time scrapping the requirement for affordable housing in developments of less than 50 houses,” she added.
A new system for councils to receive money from developers towards local projects has also been tabled by the Government.
The current Section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy will be scrapped in favour of a new levy which ask developers to pay a proportion of the value of the overall development, above a set threshold.