19 December 2023
MP Welcomes Neighbourhood Plan Upgrade

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has welcomed measures which could help protect Neighbourhood Plans across the south of the county from being undermined by speculative planning applications.

The MP also urged the south Worcestershire district councils to accelerate the timetable for getting their planning blueprint approved to head off unwanted housing development.

Over the last year, the Government has been reviewing the National Planning Policy Framework and Harriett has lobbied for measures which strengthen the importance of democratically approved Neighbourhood Plans.

She has also strongly resisted the imposition of top-down, nationally-imposed housing targets, as she has since she was first elected in 2010.

And in recent months, a raft of parish councils have shared their concerns with Harriett as the South Worcestershire Development Plan review is consistently delayed.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove today unveiled his review of the planning system which will mean that councils without a five year land supply but with an approved local plan can refused speculative applications and Planning Inspectors will have to take greater account of local Neighbourhood Plans.

Harriett said:

“After I raised this issue with Government, I am pleased that the updated National Planning Policy Framework announced today gives greater protection to our villages like Kempsey, Hallow, Clifton-upon-Teme, Martley, Welland, Great Witley and Upton-upon-Severn which, along with others, have taken the time, effort and trouble of agreeing a Neighbourhood Plan. 

“However, the reforms do rely on the local council having a five year land supply and an adopted plan.  Malvern Hills does not meet either of these conditions.  Plan-making in South Worcestershire has taken a very long time and I urge our locally elected councillors to do everything they can to get their plans adopted.”