24th Oct, 2016

Power now lies with developers - MP

Evesham Editorial 19th Jun, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

EVESHAM’s MP Sir Peter Luff claims residents in Mid Worcestershire are being ‘punished’ for the absence of a local blueprint on the future of housing in the area.

The MP spoke out following a meeting at Badsey Remembrance Hall on Friday, June 6 which according to Sir Peter was ‘powerful evidence of the sense of betrayal local people feel over the collapse of local planning policies’.

At the meeting, attended by parish councils and residents from across the Vale and throughout Wychavon, Sir Peter revealed figures from the National House Building Council.

Shockingly, the figures show in Mid Worcestershire there are three and a half times more new homes being started than the national average.

In 2013, the number of new homes started in Mid Worcestershire was 626, way ahead of the UK constituency average of just 185.

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

Sir Peter said.

“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 in places like Badsey.” he added.

Sir Peter said it was time for the Government to say that the council was free to oppose ‘continuing speculative development in the wrong places’.

“All it needs to do is to say the planning permissions granted will count against our target.” he said.

“I hope they will commit to ensuring 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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