TENBURY is at risk of major housing development if a plan for the area is rejected at a key meeting next week.
Tony Penn, pictured, who holds the planning portfolio and represents Tenbury on Malvern Hills District Council, says the full implications of a rejection of the South Worcestershire development plan have not been grasped by objectors.
The plan which was voted down last month, would put a cap of 70 on the number of new homes that could be built in Tenbury.
“At present there are applications for about 100 new houses,” said Coun Penn.
“If the development plan is not agreed by the deadline – the end of next March – it would leave Tenbury vulnerable to many more homes than are envisaged,” he added.
His plea comes in the middle of political turmoil at Malvern Hills District Council Leader Coun David Hughes is urging members to rethink the rejection of the plan at an extraordinary meeting next week, while two other councillors are bringing a motion of noconfidence in both him and his deputy Coun Paul Swinburn over the proposed U-turn.
One of them, Coun Julian Roskams called the process an “absurdity” and maintains those opposing the plan do fully understand the consquences.
But Coun Penn points to a serious threat if the plan is rejected.
“Without the plan a developer could come along and even if an application was rejected it would be very vulnerable to being overturned at appeal,” he said.
In addition to having no plan, it would be difficult to argue that the area had a five year land supply, which could be damaging in the eyes of an inspector, he claims.
“The plan has been prepared over seven years by Malvern Hills District Council, Wychavon District Council and Worcester City Council.
Now all of this work is in danger of being lost.
“The council will not have a proven five year land supply, its reserved policies will no longer carry any weight after March 2013 and we will have no substitute plan in place having decided to “go it alone”.
“This is after seven years’ work with Wychavon and Worcester and the Localism Bill requires us to work closely with our neighbours.
“If we reject applications next year they are likely to go to appeal. The inspector is then more than likely to agree them as the council won’t have a plan in place.
And as well as concerns about large scale additional building in the Tenbury area there are also concerns about flooding risks.
Local campaigners fear more housing in the Oldwood Road area would generate water runof f when it rains and exacerbate the risk of flooding in the town centre.
Tenbury is already vulnerable because it has no flood defences at present.
The crunch meeting takes place on Monday at the Bank House Hotel at Bransford starting at 7.30pm.