Housing critics are being too pessimistic

CONTRARY to your report in the online Malvern Gazette, the planning appeal decision of the government inspector to refuse 10 houses next to Hop Pole Green, Leigh Sinton, was not given because the development would have been outside the settlement boundary.

All such settlement boundaries must be considered questionable until the South Worcestershire Development Plan's extra sites have been determined, possibly later this year; so until then this factor has limited weight, as residents of Welland have recently seen.

What swayed the inspector here was partly technical difficulties with the "affordable" homes element of the proposal, and partly that its exposed position would bring "harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside."

What seems to matter more this year than the supposed lack of housing land supply, perhaps as a result of interventions by Harriett Baldwin and other MPs, is the intrinsic "sustainability" (as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework) of each individual site.

So your online commentators and various other people who have suggested we are now in a complete lottery situation with developers having the whip hand on planning have been shown to be too pessimistic by this and other recent judgments both locally and around England.

Chris Cheeseman

District councillor

Malvern Wells

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