Homes plan wins seal of approval

First published in News by

AFTER months of uncertainty, plans for 23,000 new homes in South Worcestershire have received the final seal of approval from Wychavon District Council.

The controversial South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) was given the green light on Tuesday evening with none of the 35 councillors in the chamber opposing the plans.

Despite no one voting against the SWDP, councillors and members of the public did air serious concerns about it, with Liberal Democrat Charles Tucker branding it a “camel” and saying it had been forced on councillors with no real alternatives.

Eleven public speakers, including parish council chairmen and community group leaders, took to the mic with the majority in support of a plan but with concerns about specific elements.

Gordon Franks, of the Save Broadway campaign group, which plans to take its concerns to Parliament, said: “We understand the impossible position you are in tonight. No plan would mean a developers’ free for all. On the other hand we must accept a plan that in my view is flawed.”

Other major concerns were raised regarding the Abbey Road site in Evesham earmarked for 200 homes, land in Bevere near Gwillams Farm Shop, allocated for a possible 250 units, and the impact on Norton Juxta Kempsey parish, near Worcester.

Yet many councillors welcomed the plans, with Coun Audrey Steel saying villages must accept change.

She said: “Villages must look forward and not allow themselves to live in a cocoon, or they will find themselves isolated.”

The proposals, which are a partnership between Wychavon District Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Worcester City Council, will now go ahead with the intention of adopting the plan in September next year.

That had seemed unlikely last month when Malvern Hills threw out a motion supporting the plan, which has taken more than five years to complete.

However last week it reversed that decision.

While 30 councillors put the plan through, five abstained, with councillors Rob Adams, Frances Smith and John Smith saying they could not vote for such a plan, but would not attempt to hamper its progress.

Coun Mrs Smith said: “I am a slave to my conscience, which tells me to vote against but I cannot do that. I cannot support the Abbey Road plans. Evesham cannot absorb any more largescale development.”

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