The Work of the Planning Sub-Committee
The Society’s Planning Sub-Committee (PSC) tries to encourage good planning design for all developments in the Malvern area. It normally meets on the last Wednesday in each month at the Great Malvern Hotel and reviews new planning applications made to Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC). We appraise the details of a selected few that we consider significant. These will typically be chosen because they are in a conservation area, within the AONB, relate to listed buildings or tree preservation orders or are likely to excite widespread community concern.
PSC members assess applications for good design principles and compliance with local and national planning policies (see Governing Documents below). We are fortunate to have experts in the Society who have professional expertise in this area.
Occasionally, the PSC objects to an application. In such cases, the committee submits a comment (known as a “representation”) to the council planning department recommending refusal. We base such comments on the guidance given in planning documents. This is the same process that planning officers themselves will need to follow. The PSC are not against development or modern design although a modern design may be inappropriate next to a historic building and detract from it. We support applications where they enhance the conservation area and the town, particularly where a significant building that may be at risk can be brought into good use and maintained for the future. There is a good relationship with councillors and officers and our opinion is usually taken seriously.
An equally important part of the PSC work is to comment on the revisions to the various documents that govern planning decisions. These documents govern planning decisions and so will influence how the town will develop. These documents currently include:
- the South Worcestershire Development Plan (currently being revised),
- Neighbourhood Plans,
- the various guidance documents for the Malvern Hills AONB (particularly on Building Design and use of Colour – these are near the bottom of the list of documents), and the
- National Planning Policy Framework documents.
Broader Planning Issues
Our discussions are not confined to planning applications. We are concerned with anything which affects the town. This includes consideration of infrastructure, transport and other aspects that make a place that one wants to live or visit. We are grateful for the diligence of committee members and for the constructive debate we have. It is a team effort. New members interested in discussing local planning matters will be always welcome. Please get in touch.