SWDP Review Submission
On Wednesday 27 September 2023, following the Regulation 19 consultation in November and December 2022, the south Worcestershire Councils have formally submitted the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDPR) and associated evidence base documents to the Secretary of State for independent examination.
An independent Inspector will be appointed by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) to assess the Plan and its accompanying evidence base. The Inspector will take into account the representations received at the Regulation 19 consultation stage and will likely identify matters to consider as part of the examination. Subsequently, the Council and interested parties will be invited to attend a series of hearing sessions.
The south Worcestershire Councils have appointed a Programme Officer to organise and administer the examination, including the anticipated public hearing sessions. The timings of these sessions will be confirmed in due course.
A dedicated Examination Webpage has been created and all relevant documents are available to view on this page South Worcestershire Development Plan Review | Local Plan Examination Services (localplanservices.co.uk)
Planning Policy Updates:
South Worcestershire Five Year Housing Land Supply Update, 29 November 2022
The South Worcestershire Councils (SWCs) have reviewed their 5 Year Housing Land Supply position for 2022. In the light of recent appeal decisions, the SWCs are now proposing to adopt an individual district approach for the 5 Year Housing Land Supply calculation. The result is that Malvern Hills has a 5.06 year supply, Worcester City 3.06 and Wychavon 3.68. These figures will be used as a material consideration in determining planning applications.
The SWCs will continue to publish a joint calculation for information and monitoring purposes and will seek confirmation of this approach through the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDPR) which is currently out to consultation. The joint calculation results in 3.94 years of housing land supply across the whole SWDP area.
The full report and supporting evidence is expected to be published later this year.
Delay to SWDP publication
Date: 22 April 2022
The updated South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) will not be published for consultation in July as scheduled, because work on the key documents relating to development sites and the infrastructure needed to support them is yet to be completed.
More time is required to finalise the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) which is a crucial evidence document setting out how strategic infrastructure, such as roads and new schools, will be delivered to support proposals in the SWDP for the additional 14,000 new dwellings that we are required to deliver across Malvern Hills District, Worcester City and Wychavon District by 2041.
The Regulation 19 publication draft of the SWDP was scheduled for public consultation in July, with the Submission version timetabled for independent examination later this year.
The impact of the latest delay to the SWDP is still being assessed and a new timetable will be drawn up for elected councillors to consider.
Cllr, Aaron Powell, Chair of the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “We know that infrastructure and how it will be delivered is one of the key concerns of our residents. We are disappointed by this latest delay to the review of the SWDP but the Infrastructure Delivery Plan is a critical piece of evidence, to demonstrate the proposed strategic housing sites are viable. It is therefore better that we take the time now to make sure we are getting it right as we look to deliver a Plan that will have a profound impact on South Worcestershire over the coming years.
“We will identify the next steps in the review process and a timetable for them as soon as we can.”
The planning policy team are responsible for ensuring that the council has up to date local plan coverage for the whole district. Not to mention, providing advice on a range of issues that includes the impact of policies prepared by other bodies.
Planning applications are determined by either the Local Planning Authority (i.e. Malvern Hills District Council) or the Planning Inspectorate, and in exceptional circumstances the Secretary of State. The decisions have to be principally based on the application of planning policy.
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the priorities for planning in England and places significant emphasis on sustainable development, and the requirement to reflect presumption of sustainable development in Local Plans.
The SWDP considers the long term vision and objectives for South Worcestershire up to the year 2030, as well as containing the policies for delivering these objectives.
The South Worcestershire Councils (SWC) i.e. Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon started a review of the SWDP in late 2017. This is in line with new Government requirements that local plans should be updated every five years, and therefore a revised SWDP is required by 2021. The review will provide an updated plan period to the year 2041.
The plan will update the existing SWDP and where necessary its Vision, Objectives, Spatial Strategy and policies for the future development of the South Worcestershire area. The second part of the plan includes site allocations, policies and policy designations that will provide for the development needs of the area up to 2041.
Neighbourhood Plans allow a partnership of communities including businesses, residents and interested parties to develop policies that, subject to an independent examination and community referendum, will become part of the planning framework for land uses in their local area.
SPDs are used to provide more detail on how policies set out in the development plan will be applied. SPDs are subject to public consultation and are 'material considerations' in the determination of planning applications.
Other planning documents
Planning Policy Monitoring - Reports progress against the timetable set out in the Local Development Schemes (LDS) and assesses the extent to which the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) policies are being implemented.
Brownfield Land Register - Brownfield land registers are intended to provide up-to-date and consistent information on sites that local authorities consider to be appropriate for residential development.
Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register - The self build register makes it easier for us to identify the demand for suitable building plots in the Malvern Hills district.
Local Development Schemes (LDS)
The LDS is a project management document which sets out the council priorities for producing planning policy documents over the coming three years.
The Local Development Scheme has two main purposes:
a) To inform the public about the preparation of planning documents; and
b) To establish and reflect council priorities and enable work programmes to be set for the preparation of the documents.
Whilst this LDS is specific to Malvern Hills District Council, much of the content is shared with Wychavon District Council and Worcester City Council.
Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)
Sets out what Malvern Hills District Council will do to involve the community, and other stakeholders in the preparation and revision of planning policy documents and decisions on planning applications. The Statement of Community Involvement has been temporarily updated to reflect the current situation with regard to Covid-19 restrictions.
Parish, town plan or village design statement
A Parish or Town Plan is a document setting out how a particular town, village, parish or locality wants to develop over the next decade or so and can cover a variety of social, economic, environmental planning issues. It should reflect the views of all sections of the community, obtained through local consultation. It also includes a plan of action setting out how the priorities will be addressed.