Delays over housing blueprint are not good enough, minister tells county MP

4:21pm Friday 4th July 2014

By Tom Edwards

PLANNING minister Nick Boles has written to a county MP admitting his regret over the time taken to implement the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).

The blueprint, which is currently still to be approved by planning inspector Roger Clews, was backed by South Worcestershire’s three district councils in December 2012.

The inspection process has since been prolonged by arcane arguments about the housing numbers contained it.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has been a fierce critic of the delays, and has campaigned over the last two years to attempt to speed up the process.

Mr Boles, in a written reply to Mrs Baldwin, said: "I too, regret that the examination of the South Worcestershire Local Plan has taken longer at examination than some other local plans.

"I would like to assure you and your constituents that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that (these blueprints) are dealt with efficiently by the planning inspectorate."

Mrs Baldwin said: "My constituency has seen some of the lowest amounts of new homes across the county last year and I am worried that the SWDP delays are preventing building in the right places, while attracting unsuitable bids from developers keen to build on excluded sites."

The SWDP originally earmarked land for more than 23,000 new homes across south Worcestershire by 2030, but Mr Clews has ordered it to grow to 28,370 in Worcester, Malvern and Wychavon.

The controversial increase of 22 per cent has been criticised across the county.

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