HUGE concerns continue to be raised about tens of thousands of extra homes being built across the county due to changes in government rules.

More than 43,000 more homes could be built across the south Worcestershire if changes are made to calculations for housebuilding – nearly 30,000 more than was originally planned for the next two decades.

The extra homes could mean Malvern – and Wychavon – would see some of the biggest increases not only in the West Midlands but in the country.

One councillor in Malvern has called the plan “madness” and said it would vandalise the Malvern Hills.

Cllr Paul Bennett, who represents Pickersleigh on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “There is no extra affordable housing and sites up to 50 at a time will not even have to make contributions to pay for schools, roads or the new hospital we will need.”

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Cllr Bennett said normally unflappable housing officers were describing the plans as “madness” and “nuts”.

“There were general fears of massive over-development that will just give the big housebuilders even more sites in their respective land banks and destroy vast areas of green space,” he said.

“The whole thing is complete madness. It is ludicrous and it is very dangerous for this area. We should be protecting our environment. It is an asset; it brings people here and has got to be one our major money earners going forward.

“Especially during this staycation period, we’ve never been busier. More and more people have been coming.

“It is absolutely crazy to suggest that we could cope with that number of homes here without completely destroying the very fabric of why people think this one of the most beautiful places in the country if not the world.”

As part of sweeping changes to the planning system revealed by the Government last month, councils may have to use a new method for calculating the number of new homes it will need to build in the future.

The latest review of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) – the major planning blueprint which will set out where homes will be built in the next 20 years – whilst facing a significant delay has set out a need for around 14,000 more homes up to 2041.

If the three district planning councils in south Worcestershire agreed to adopt the new method for calculating housing need, the number of new homes needed to be built could rocket to a massive 43,000 – a rise of more than 200 per cent and a huge number of these homes would be built across Wychavon and Malvern Hills.

Calculations show the number of new homes needed to be built ever year in Malvern under the new formula would be 917 – up by 125 per cent.

The same method shows the number of new homes needed across Wychavon would shoot up to 1,375 – a massive 175 per cent increase – and would require more homes to be built in Wychavon every year than the whole of the south of the county under the old formula.

Cllr Bennett said the new government algorithm would focus on the cost of homes rather than need.

“They are trying to say that the houses are expensive in Malvern and Wychavon so they should have more but what that doesn’t allow for is the fact that a lot of these areas are expensive because they are protected.

He said urban and rural algorithms were needed so some of the things that made the Malvern Hills so attractive – such as tourism, culture and heritage – were not just “thrown out the window.”