OPEN public meetings to discuss planning applications of more than 20 homes will be held in Droitwich after the proposal was approved by the town council on Monday.
The discussion was started after a motion was put forward by Coun Rod Hopkins and seconded by Coun Alan Humphries calling for developers to be invited to speak at planning committee meetings.
But fears were expressed that could be construed as giving housebuilders and their agents the chance to present plans without giving the public the chance to speak about them.
So Coun Bob Brookes modified the motion to call for developers and agents to engage in open and free access public presentations to which members of the public (and councillors acting as members of the public) could attend to ask questions and discuss any arising issues.
At the meetings, developers would be asked to speak about the benefits of the housing scheme and outline what infrastructure would be needed.
Droitwich Town Council leader Coun Alex Sinton said he was pleased the motion had been agreed, adding developers had always been encouraged to hold public meetings at the Community Hall or
Council Chamber to enable residents to make their views known and ask questions.
“This simply formalises our call for proper consultation with all parties, allowing the people of the town to have their say.”
Coun George Duffy said at the meeting that whilst Wychavon District Council was the planning authority for Droitwich it was important for public comments to be fed into the decision-making via the town council as well as independently.
Members also welcomed this approach as important information about developments could be conveyed at ‘the earliest available opportunity’ whereas planning meetings came later in the process and would give limited time for comments.
Coun Richard Morris said: “Many residents tell me they think infrastructure improvements are often given low priority.
“Droitwich Town Council does not have the power to compel developers to do everything we would like to see, but we can support our constituents to ask questions in a public forum, to encourage developers to play their part.”