Housing masterplan back on track

By Tim Clarke Tuesday 11 December 2012 Updated: 11/12 15:42

A BLUEPRINT for the future development of 23,000 new homes in south Worcestershire has been rescued from the brink of collapse after a dramatic U-turn by councillors in Malvern Hills.

The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) looked to be in tatters last month when Malvern Hills District Council voted down the masterplan which had taken five years to draw up.

But on another dramatic night councillors backed a motion tabled by the Tory leadership calling on the council to reverse its decision and support the SWDP which has been created in partnership with Worcester and Wychavon.

Nineteen councillors voted in favour of approving the SWDP, with 13 opposed and two abstentions.

The U-turn came on the same night Worcester City Council voted unanimously to back the masterplan which leaves only Wychavon to make up its mind next week to ensure the SWDP is formally adopted.

Last night's decision removed the threat of a judicial review which Worcester City had insisted it would pursue if Malvern did not back the SWDP after investing hundreds of thousands of pounds in shaping the blueprint.

Before the decisive vote council leader David Hughes had warned councillors that without the SWDP Malvern would lose control of its own planning ability and be left at the mercy of developers.

"It would be a potentially catastrophic step backwards for the whole district," he added.

MORE to follow.

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