The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) was initially published in February 2016 and provided a development plan with long term vision and objectives for the three south Worcestershire Councils (Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon) up to the year 2030. This entailed allocation of a range of sites for housing across the area and providing policies to ensure sustainable development.
The Government required that all Development Plans be updated every five years. Following this requirement, South Worcestershire Councils commenced the review at the end of 2017 with an aim to finish the review and provide an updated SWDP by 2021 to meet the five year time frame. However, several delays due to COVID meant that the update had already been pushed back with public consultation due to commence this November.
A further update has recently been published stating that public consultation will not begin until at least June 2022, with a new time table being drawn up for publication and submission of the plan. The three councils are yet to approve said timetable. The cause of such delay is due to the requirement of more time for technical studies to be completed, including surveys by sewerage, transport and power infrastructure providers. This now means the earliest adoption of the revised SWDP is likely to be October 2023.
The crux of this is that there is now a delay on publicising where an extra 14,000 homes will be built across Worcester City, Malvern Hills and Wychavon. This does not have any impact on those sites already allocated in this first SWDP which aims to build 28,400 homes.
This, combined with recent appeals confirming that Malvern Hills (MHDC) do not have a five-year housing land supply, creates an interesting mix of Local Plan and “tilted balance” for that local authority. It is more important than ever to check timings and how this can affect your projects (current and planned). If you want to chat through the implications of this, do get in touch – details on the contact page of our website.