THE DISTRICT council has come under fire for accepting controversial housing proposals based on out-of-date homes figures.
In recent months plans vehemently opposed by residents, have been passed after developers argued the council had failed its legal duty to supply five years worth of land for housing.
Currently, MHDC can only demonstrate a 3.36 year supply which has encouraged further developers to table plans in the last few weeks, but now it has emerged that the figure was last calculated in November 2013.
The matter was cast under the spotlight last week when dozens of residents packed out Malvern Cricket Club to discuss forthcoming plans for up to 110 homes at Lower Howsell Road.
Coun Paul Tuthill, who is chairman of the Southern Area Development Planning Committee, said he has asked council officers several times for an updated figure to no avail.
“This is the whole reason Malvern is in the mire, because we can’t show a five year land supply, so it is open season here,” he said.
“I think we should be able to calculate it regularly, day-to-day or week-to-week, it is absolutely crucial.”
The Link ward councillor claimed nearly a 1,000 homes had been approved in the north of the district since November which would likely affect the land supply figure.
Coun Tuthill added: “The classic case was the housing extension to Stourport which nobody wanted in Wyre Forest, but because it fell into Malvern Hills district it was passed. People were absolutely furious about that.”
Ron Harris, of the Malvern Link Forum group opposing the Lower Howsell Road plans, slammed the council over the situation.
He said: “People feel really let down that our council has not done its job and provided a five year land supply to the Government. It means planning refusals can be appealed against and developers can desecrate our landscapes. Heads should role over this.”
In response Gary Williams, head of planning, economy and housing at the council, said: “We published our most recent five year housing land estimate in November 2013 which identified a potential supply of 3.36 years.
“The housing supply is calculated using the results of an annual survey of sites and planning permissions.
“We will publish an updated housing land supply estimate in due course.
“However, as there is no nationally prescribed methodology for this calculation we are currently considering the implications of progress with the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) and recent housing land supply based planning appeal decisions, both locally and nationally, before publishing a revised figure.
“Meanwhile, for development management purposes we are still working on the basis that the council cannot demonstrate a rolling five year housing land supply of deliverable sites.”