THE TOWN council has moved to create a neighbourhood plan which could net thousands of pounds in community investments from new developments.
Last Tuesday (November 12), the council’s strategy planning committee recommended a working party be set up to investigate creating the document which will outline a vision for the town’s future and assess whether the current services and facilities in communities are meeting residents’ needs.
The committee suggested councillors Michael Charles, Julian I’Anson, Alex McLellan, Patrick Mewton and Jeremy Thomas hold their first meeting in January.
A wide consultation process would also take place to obtain residents’ views on what is needed in Malvern.
Once the plan was adopted the council would receive 25 per cent rather than 15 per cent of any investments secured from developers via a legal agreement called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Currently the CIL is only in draft form and is likely to come into operation in early 2015.
It applies to any new building which accommodates people such as homes and offices, and in Malvern will secure £60 per square metre from developers.
The neighbourhood plan must also be in line with the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) which provides development guidelines for the district, including housing numbers and employment space, until 2030.
Currently the councils behind the SWDP including Malvern Hills District Council, have been told by the Government’s inspectorate to revise their calculations for 23,200 properties across the south of the county.
Coun Charles said the neighbourhood plan could be finalised as early as June although he said it was dependent on the SWDP which is not due to be adopted until late next year at the earliest.
The neighbourhood plan can promote more development than recommended in the SWDP but should not request less.
It was also recommended at last Tuesday’s meeting the council employs extra part time staff and external consultants to help create the document.
It is not yet known how much it will cost to develop the plan however estimates range from £10,000 to £80,000 depending on how complicated the area is and how many professionals are used.
Coun Thomas said the likely cost would be towards the lower end and funding would also be available from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
He added: “I am looking forward to creating a blueprint for a better Malvern.
“It is very significant, we can produce a neighbourhood plan for the town whereas the district council tend to look toward the wider area.
“The plan will be very important for outlining our priorities for the development of Malvern and it will have financial advantages for the town.”
The recommendations will be decided on December 17.