FOR the proposed new South Worcestershire Development Plan to succeed, there needs to be a major change in the way Worcester works, the city’s Civic Society has warned.

Following views raised at its recent 60th anniversary conference, the Society hopes to influence the way forward by encouraging the role of park and ride, both for providing longer term parking and addressing congestion in the city centre, and highlighting opportunities for improving the riverside as a major open space.

Civic Society chairman Phil Douce said: “The next few years are going to be crucial for the future of Worcester.

"The development plan will take proposals and policies forward to 2041 with major changes proposed for the city and its surroundings.

"By the end of the plan period, existing provisions and three major new developments outside the boundary could increase the population directly linked to the city by over 27,000.

“The review marks a significant change in direction for the planning of the wider area. Proposed developments are no longer to be scattered around the urban and rural areas, following the opportunities identified by landowners and developers.

"Instead, the review is concentrating most development close to major improvements in rail travel and concentrating it so that there can be integration of the full range of employment, schools and other local services.

“This could make future development much more sustainable and help address long term climate concerns.

"But there will need to be  major change in the way the Worcester works, in terms of access for the full range of non-car journeys, provision of opportunity sites for expansion of the hospital and other services, and a range of high-quality retail, office and employment premises.

“The new housing stock must be equipped to provide access for the full range of incomes, age and mobility, and minimize energy needs, so that residents have real opportunity to live more sustainability. 

"In the city, opportunity must be taken to enhance the buildings and open spaces to make it an increasingly attractive destination.” 

The South Worcestershire Development Plan consultation period ends on December 16 and Mr Douce urged the public to make direct comments to the council via or to contact the Civic Society on