28th Jul, 2017

District council says no to plans to build 49 affordable homes in Winsmore, Powick

Craig Gibbons 15th Feb, 2017

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 49 new affordable homes on a small Malvern estate which were labelled as an ‘accident waiting to happen’ by fuming residents have been rejected.

Housing firm Fortis Living’s application to the Malvern Hills District Council to build the properties on the land at Winsmore in Powick has been thrown out because of the ‘significant’ traffic increase there would be in the area.

The decision notice supplied by the district council also said the development ‘failed’ to deliver ‘high quality’ design and integrate with the character of the surrounding area.

Fears of increased crime were also among the reasons for the rejection as residents’ cars would be parked out of sight while the work was taking place.

In a report to the district council, West Mercia Police’s crime and risk manager said: “Ownership and natural surveillance are key elements in reducing the opportunity and preventing crime.

“If forced to park elsewhere those residents would no longer be able to act as guardians over there own vehicles.

“I believe that the opportunity for criminal activity could increase.”

Angry Winsmore residents expressed their fears over the plans last year, with the Observer reporting in July last year that Winsmore Action Group was founded to battle the proposals.

At the time, group organiser Felicity Williams said the project was an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

Felicity, who has lived in the estate for three years, said the group was pleased the plans had been rejected but insisted they do recognise the need for social housing in the area.

“We are very pleased that the plan has been rejected and we would like to thank the district councillors for looking at this case very carefully,” she said.

“Powick, as it is, does not have the amenities it requires to sustain 49 more homes so residents would have to travel to get to the doctors, to the post office and to do their shopping.

“Against the odds we have won but we do recognise the need for social housing, but unless there’s a way to make access easier it is always going to be a problem.”

The site had been allocated for development under the South Worcestershire Development Plan and in Fortis Living’s application, they said the development was needed ‘as a result of a need for housing growth in the larger and more sustainable villages to meet local demand.’

It is unclear at this stage whether Fortis Living will be submitting another application.

Simon Vick, assistant director of growth and development at Fortis Living, said: “This area would have provided 49 much needed affordable homes so we are extremely disappointed that this planning application has been refused.”