The Library, Great Malvern, ©Malvern Civic Society/Kevin Brewer


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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 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 have a particular significance because they are in a conservation area, relate to listed buildings or tree preservation orders or because they are likely to excite widespread community concern. 


PSC members assess applications for good design principles and compliance with local and national planning policies. A high proportion of applications are accepted without comment, as might be expected since they have already been vetted by the planning authority. We always try to involve 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 have a good relationship with councillors and officers and our opinion is usually taken seriously. 


Our discussions are not confined to planning applications. We are concerned with anything which affects the town. I am grateful for the diligence of committee members and for the constructive debate we have had. It is a team effort. New members interested in discussing local planning matters will be always welcome. Please contact me by phone or by email


Planning Sub Committee - August 2017 


In each of its meetings the Planning Sub Committee (PSC) meetings reviews all live applications in the Malvern urban areas. 


Since our July meeting, 17 or so of the previously ‘live’ applications in the Malvern urban area have been approved by the Malvern Hills District Council, 3 have been refused or withdrawn. There were 29 'brought forward’ applications and 5 new ones, all of which we reviewed in varying degrees of detail. We discussed the following two applications in the greatest detail.


17/00686 /FUL Miller Tyre Service - Edith Walk.


The planning application is for development of the site off Edith Walk which was formerly used by Miller Tyre Service. The proposal is to demolish the existing buildings, which are in the Great Malvern conservation area, and replace by new buildings containing two commercial units and two small flats.


PCS consider that the existing buildings appear to have neither architectural merit nor historical value and, disappointingly, the proposed replacements appear to have no obvious architectural merit either.


So far as the South Worcestershire Development Plan 21A is concerned, a development in a conservation area "will need to integrate effectively with its surroundings in terms of form and function", and "enhance the overall quality of the built environment". This planning requirement appears to have been narrowly met in terms of form and function for this back-land development in the town centre. However, even demolition and clearance could itself be seen as an environmental quality improvement for this unattractive run-down site.


PCS reluctantly support approval of the planning application but suggest that, surely, this site deserves a more eye pleasing development than that proposed.


17/00999/FUL 10-12 Priory Road

On 21 August the MHDC Southern Area Planning Committee considered the planning application for the site next to 'The Splash' on Priory Road. The application proposes construction of a new apartment building together with the demolition and replacement of 12 Priory Road and refurbishment and extension of 10 Priory Road.


This application follows the refusal of the previous scheme for the site (16/01654/FUL) on the grounds that the height and materials of the new apartment building then proposed would have had a harmful impact upon the character and appearance of the Great Malvern Conservation Area. Specifically, it was decided that the new building would have restricted the views from within Priory Park and thus create a sense of enclosure to what is currently an open area. The previous application appeared to have not considered any evidence that could support a recommendation to refuse on evidence of architectural, heritage and environmental grounds submitted by MCS, English Heritage, the Victorian Society and local people. These latter grounds could well have been sufficient by themselves to persuade refusal but, for reasons that are not clear to the author of this report were not then brought forward to be tested in debate.


The new application satisfactorily addressed the height problem posed by the new building. It now seems unfortunate that because the architectural, heritage and other reasons were not considered as reasons for refusal at the time of the former application they could not now be raised at the occasion for decision of this application.

As proposed by the Priory Ward councillors, this application was approved by a majority vote of the MHDC committee.


Graham Myatt.

Chair of Planning Sub-Committee



Malvern's Council House, once the home of one of the Doctors who promoted Malvern's Water Cure in the 19th Century, ©Malvern Civic Society/Kevin Brewer



Previous reports from the Planning Sub Committee:


July 2017


June 2017


May 2017


April 2017


March 2017


February 2017