WHETHER we agree or disagree with the council’s decision for a further review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan, now is not the time for recriminations but for strong local political leadership and quick, effective officer action to minimise delays in producing and approving a revised plan.
Malvern Hills District Council has spoken but the world has not come to an end and nor has most of the SWDP been rejected.
The alternative proposals really directly affect only Malvern and the Worcester South Urban Extension as detailed in just 15 or 20 pages of a document of more than 250 pages.
The proposals are not a totally new plan but simply a different distribution and location strategy to known sites in Malvern and Kempsey, most of which are already in the evidence base.
Yes, the proposals are significant and will need to be assessed against reliable evidence and then publically consulted.
Yes, the council’s late decision is an embarrassment.
However, the decision has been taken and all three councils have no choice but to respond.
Whatever that response is, I suggest it should not be a ‘knee jerk’ reaction but based on a considered but urgent assessment of whether an amended SWDP or individual district plans are now the way forward.
I would hope by now the councils would not only have a strategy in place for the way forward but would also have started implementing it.
To delay, hoping to overturn the decision at another council meeting on December 10 will simply extend the ‘no local plan’ risk period the councils so fear.