Have your say on affordable housing and sites for travellers in south Worcestershire

South Worcestershire residents can now have their say on two vital issues connected with the newly adopted South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) in consultations that have opened today (March 14).

Residents and other interested parties are being asked for their views on guidelines for the building of affordable housing between now and 2030, and on the provision of sites for travellers and travelling showpeople.

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. There will also be a series of public drop-in sessions when staff will be on hand to answer queries.

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.

Affordable housing

The three councils are preparing an Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document, designed to help developers, land owners and others who hope to build affordable housing under policies outlined in the SWDP.

The SWDP proposes that most new housing developments should include a proportion of affordable housing, such as shared ownership or rented accommodation normally managed by housing associations. In larger sites, this will be up to 40% of new housing.

The consultation asks for views on the Supplementary Planning Document, which gives detailed guidance on these issues, covering whether flats or houses should be built, how many bedrooms should be included, and the circumstances in which developers will have to make a financial contribution towards affordable housing being built away from their own developments.

Sites for Travellers and Travelling Showpeople

The second consultation is on a separate Development Plan Document setting out proposed locations for new pitches for travellers and travelling showpeople, to be provided over the next five-ten years, as required by national planning policy.

As part of the process, the three councils carried out an assessment of the need for travellers’ pitches and asked for suggestions for sites where pitches could be accommodated. Seventeen sites were put forward, but not all were considered suitable.

Up to 2021, 19 pitches need to be provided and seven south Worcestershire locations are being proposed. These include existing travellers’ sites at Hillbee Farm, Upton-upon-Severn; The Orchard, Knowle Hill, Badsey; Blossom Hill, Village Street, Aldington; The Laurels, Kemerton Rd, Bredon; and two locations in Cropthorne, at Seven Acres, Main Road and Evergreen Bank, Main Road. A new site is proposed at Cropssway Green, near Stourport, where temporary planning permission is already in place for a travellers’ site at Shorthill Caravan Park.

To meet the longer term need for pitches, the SWDP includes two possible sites within the Worcester “urban extensions”, due to be built on the southern edge of the city at Broomhall and Norton Barracks and at Temple Laugherne on the western edge of Worcester.

Residents can find out more about this consultation at public drop-in sessions running 2-8pm on the following dates:

  • March 17 – Cropthorne Village Hall
  • March 21 – Hartlebury Village Hall (covering the Crossway Green site)
  • March 23 – Badsey Memorial Hall (covering the Aldington and Badsey sites)
  • 31 March – Bredon Village Hall
  • April 5 – Upton Hill Centre, Upton-upon-Severn

Councillor Melanie Baker, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “I want to urge local people to have their say on these important issues. Providing affordable housing is vital, as we want to help more people discover how good it is to get the keys to their own home. It’s also crucial that we use the right locations to meet our obligations on providing sites for travellers and travelling showpeople, so I would urge people to make their voices heard in these consultations.”

Two further consultations related to the SWDP are being planned for next month, on developer contributions towards infrastructure and a Community Infrastructure Levy that would be applied to certain types of development.