CONTROVERSIAL plans to build holiday lodges on a unique woodland outside Great Malvern have been thrown out by Malvern Hills District Council.
Planning officers had actually recommended approval for the Three Counties Agricultural Society’s project to build 50 holiday homes and a reception office in Langdale Wood off Blackmore Park Road.
The society stated the development would tackle the ‘shortage of accommodation’ in the area and secure its ‘financial future’.
However, at Wednesday’s meeting of the district council’s southern area planning committee, councillors voted 8-6 in favour of rejecting the plans.
There was two abstentions.
The decision came as a shock to Sharon Taylor, of Meadow Road, Malvern Link, who expected the plans to get the go-ahead, despite fronting the Save Langdale Wood campaign which she launched in October.
An emotional Mrs Taylor was left overwhelmed by the support from residents over the last few months, with more than 230 people liking the Facebook page and almost 1,600 signing an online petition against the development.
“It has been a rollercoaster three months of highs and low and I did not think we would win,” she said.
“The birds, bats and newts in the woods will not care as it is just another day for them but how lovely it is that they can have many more carefree days.”
She added it was important to secure the wood’s future because she expected an appeal to be lodged.
The refusal was music to the ears of chiefs at the town’s civic society who feared the plans would have had ‘serious adverse environmental implications’ if it had been given the green light.
Clive Hooper, chairman of the Malvern Civic Society, added: “There are better sites available on the main Three Counties Showground site for this kind of development.”
Samantha Charles, chair of the West Worcestershire Labour party which has been behind the Save Langdale Wood campaign from the start, was ‘thrilled’ the plans were rejected.
“It was a very passionate and exciting meeting and there was overwhelming support for the campaign in the room,” she said.
Bosses at the Three Counties Agricultural Society were ‘very disappointed’ their proposal was rejected but stated they were ‘respectful’ of the democratic process which was in place to deal with sensitive matters such as the Langdale Wood application.
Society chairman Ken Nottage added: “We are grateful to Malvern Hills District Council for the work in relation to our application which recommended that approval be given.
“We intend to discuss our options regarding the way forward with the Trustees.”