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MP’s blast at attack from ‘Brum’
AN MP has blasted councils in Birmingham and the Black Country for trying to turn Worcestershire into a “sleepy backwater”.
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff says he is “alarmed” by their efforts to water down the number of jobs earmarked in a key blueprint for growth in south Worcestershire.
Mr Luff said: “I’ve become increasingly concerned with Birmingham’s attitude to Worcestershire – they want the county to become a dormitory for its own jobs and I think it’s wrong.
“Instead of supporting our growth they are actively opposing it and that’s a tragedy – the develoment plan provides the chance to bring high-quality jobs to the county.
“They are fundamentally attacking our strategy and want to see Worcestershire become a sleepy backwater for them.”
Other politicians, mean- while, have called for inspector Roger Clews to move quickly in accepting the plan.
Mr Clews has just concluded a four-day inspection into the development plan, and is expected to make a further announcement within weeks.
Harriett Baldwin, who represents West Worcestershire, said: “To my mind, the democratically agreed plan ought to be considered the definitive document and the inspector should only be able to make changes where there are actual errors of fact.
“With every day of uncertainty over the adoption of this plan, our towns and villages continue to face speculative planning applications and councils are unable to work to their own, democratically agreed local strategy.”
When an original timetable was laid down for the plan, the inspector’s examination was pencilled in for June but had to be delayed.
District councils in Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon eventually agreed it after some wrangling, which triggered the independent examination.
Mr Clews’ next step will be to either make some recommended changes to the development plan, or move to the final section of the examination, known as stage two, before signing it off.
Councillor Tony Penn, chairman of Malvern Hills District Council’s planning committee, has also backed a swift end.
“It’s been causing us problems for a while now because we haven’t got the adopted plan in place,” he said.
The plan earmarks land for 23,000 new homes and 25,000 jobs in south Worcestershire by 2030.