THE SECOND World War took less time than the planning of future house building in South Worcestershire, Malvern’s MP has claimed.
During a Parliamentary debate called by West Worcestershire representative Harriett Baldwin on Wednesday (November 20), she said delays in adopting the development plan were ‘strangling’ growth in the area.
Mrs Baldwin added: “Frankly, the Second World War took less time than the bureaucracy and red tape surrounding this local plan.
“In balancing the interests of tomorrow’s population with the interests of today’s homeowners and home builders, we are strangling growth, preventing house building and stalling construction in my constituency and elsewhere.”
Mrs Baldwin added because the SWDP was yet to be adopted, developers were submitting ‘speculative’ applications which led to homes in less favourable locations. She also said lawyers ‘rubbed their hands together in glee’ at the legal fees incurred by councils refusing such proposals.
In response Stephen Williams, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said housing shortages would be ‘perpetuated for decades’ if housing need was underestimated as it was ruled the SWDP had done.
“We need to strike the right balance. We cannot have a situation where development decisions are put on hold whenever a plan is in preparation. It would not be sensible to have some form of moratorium on development during that period.
“It would not be advisable to give draft plans the same weight as an adopted plan. Applying such weight to a draft plan would allow councils to postpone examination, perhaps indefinitely, leaving uncertainty for all concerned.”
Following the debate, Mrs Baldwin stressed the importance of neighbourhood plans which were also discussed.
“What is clear is that neighbourhood plans, once they are adopted, will take precedence over any other plan so it is important that communities look at this in detail.
“In the end, local views will become the most important views of all when setting housing numbers for generations to come.”