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Council had no choice but to support housing plan
5:31pm Thursday 20th March 2014 in Letters
Recriminations abound in your pages, not least the Letters page, but in the end Malvern Hills District Council did not have too many practical alternatives other than support the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).
Successive legislation, culminating in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and now the NPPF 2012 enjoins "strategic" (long term) planning and collaborative working between councils.
The once briefly espoused CPG version of the SWDP (favoured far too late in the day by various people across the political spectrum), proposed a different allocation of housing but totally ignored national planning rules.
It would have produced a worse situation for a longer time than we now see, more expense but no fewer houses in the end.
Districts such as our own simply cannot go it alone and build no houses or maybe two or three nice little pockets of "des res" villas here or there, plus a sprinkling of affordables for the servants. This is cloud cuckoo land.
Look down from the hills and you will see that the majority of our inhabitants already live in estates – far from soulless in my experience – built by the much-maligned developers.
Our job is to plan sufficient homes for our 20 to 40-year-olds to step on to the housing ladder and build a life here, but at the same time protect the most valuable landscapes and farm lands that so fill our imaginations and attract the world outside.
There have been signs recently that planning inspectors are not completely sold on any supposed lack of five-year land supply: they have been refusing the genuinely unsustainable.
What matters most is "sustainability," as defined in the NPPF. Amen to that. Level heads are wanted, not rolling ones.
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