Have your say on new guidelines for infrastructure contributions in south Worcestershire

South Worcestershire residents can now have their say on two vital issues connected with the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) in consultations that have opened today (April 1).

Residents and other interested parties are being asked for their views on how the vital infrastructure needed to support the delivery of the SWDP will be provided. This will cover funding for essentials such as transport schemes, flood defences, community facilities, green spaces and leisure centres.

The consultations run for six weeks at while printed copies of the consultation documents and forms will be available at libraries and council contact centres. Briefing sessions are being organised for parish councils and developers.

The SWDP has recently been adopted by Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council and includes policies aimed at boosting the local economy and delivering sustainable development up to the year 2030.

The consultations will cover two important areas.

Developer contributions

A Supplementary Planning Document has been prepared setting out how and when developers will need to make financial and direct contributions towards local infrastructure in order to ensure their proposals are acceptable in planning terms, in line with the new SWDP policies. This new document builds upon existing guidance which has been in operation for some time. Opinions are being sought on the new guidance document for South Worcestershire as a whole.

Community Infrastructure Levy

A Community Infrastructure Levy will be applied when planning permission is granted for certain forms of new development, including new housing and large scale retail development. This will help fund essential strategic infrastructure, such as new or safer transport schemes; flood defences; education, community, health and social care facilities; park improvements; green spaces and leisure centres. The three councils have developed the levy jointly but each authority has to have its own charging schedule and, because of the different land and development values across the area, the rates across south Worcestershire will vary. Views are now being sought on whether the scope of the levy and the level of those charges are appropriate.

Developer Contributions and the Community Infrastructure Levy will be among a wide range of funding sources for the infrastructure necessary to deliver the vision of the SWDP. Others are expected to include central Government and infrastructure providers such as Highways England, Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency.

These two consultations run until May 16.

Two other consultations, covering affordable housing and sites for travellers and travelling showpeople, are also currently underway at and run until April 25.