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Massive surge in new homes across Worcestershire
HOUSE building in Worcestershire is vastly outstripping other parts of the UK - with the county targeted on a dramatic scale.
In one area the amount of new development is more than TRIPLE the national average - with an MP claiming residents are being "betrayed".
During the whole of 2013 the average constituency saw work start on 185 new homes.
But in Worcester the tally was 254 and your Worcester News can reveal how a staggering 626 were built in Mid-Worcestershire.
Wyre Forest also surpassed the national average, taking 259, with only West Worcestershire coming in below it at 122.
In recent months Malvern Hills District Council has approved more than 1,000 planning applications, suggesting 2014 will see a rise.
The data has been criticised by Mid-Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff, who says the public are "angry" about developers building on unpopular sites.
All three district councils in Malvern, Wychavon and Worcester are still embroiled in work to try and agree a new-look South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).
Mr Luff said Worcestershire is being "punished" for not agreeing the plan yet and wants the Government to intervene by saying councils can refuse speculative planning applications in unwanted areas.
"These figures show that our area is more than pulling its weight when it comes to dealing with the housing crisis in the UK," he said.
"Wychavon District Council want to do the right thing and build the new homes that we need, but still the planning inspectorate make it clear they expect even more."
Councillor Paul Middlebrough, the leader of Wychavon District Council, said Worcestershire was being targeted because of its beauty.
"If you look at all the national surveys both Wychavon and Malvern often come in the top 10 best places to live," he said.
"It's a fantastic environment and location, we're right by three motorway junctions so if people can afford to relocate here they often do.
"That's why the house builders look here. We have all been frustrated by the South Worcestershire Development Plan."
David Harrison, a district councillor in Kempsey, near Worcester said: "The parish council said it would accept a housing increase of 10 per cent to the south of the village, which is 135 homes, but lots of people are getting increasingly concerned as to where it will finish.
"Between October and March alone, the district council approved planning permission for 1,057 homes."
The SWDP was examined by a Government inspector last year, who increased the number of homes in it by 5,000, to 28,370 properties.
All three councils are trying to finalise areas where the extra homes can go before it can be signed off, and that is not expected until 2015.
WORCESTER'S IN A GOOD POSITION, ARGUES MP
WORCESTER MP Robin Walker believes the data is good news for the city - saying it will help solve the affordable housing problems.
Mr Walker also said unlike some rural neighbours Worcester haS a good share of brownfield sites prime for development.
Developers started work on 254 homes in 2013, above the national average of 185.
Worcester has a waiting list of 2,300 people for affordable homes.
Mr Walker said: "I understand the concerns people like Peter (Luff) might have but in Worcester's case I am glad we are above the national average.
"It's where I'd expect and hope us to be because we do have a lot of brownfield sites.
"I had a look at the new development off Newtown Road recently - 40 per cent of that site will be affordable housing.
"We need to build more on our brownfield sites while protecting the green spaces."
It follows concern only last week that Worcester has the third worst rush-hour congestion rate in the UK.
In August last year the city council decided to dramatically purge its waiting list by 47 per cent.
After writing to 4,500 homes to ask people to confirm if they wanted to remain on the list, it shrank to 2,393 after getting no response from the rest.
The data on new property building has been obtained by the National House Building Council, which is pushing for more development.
Richard Tamayo, from the body, said "builders are striving to meet the growing demand for more new homes that the UK clearly needs".
Last year Government changes to planning rules introduced a "presumption of sustainable development" to force through more building.
Back in March, in response to concern planning minister Nick Boles issued fresh guidance to councils based around protecting the greenbelt and not building on flood-prone sites.
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