RESIDENTS have slammed a pair of ‘speculative’ housing proposals in their neighbourhood and criticised the Government for its ‘mad dash’ for new homes.
Members of the Leigh Sinton Action Group (LSAG) also warned infrastructure was collapsing in Malvern and the town risked becoming a ‘dormitory for Birmingham’ if the bids were approved by the district council in a week’s time.
An application for ten properties near Hop Pole Green submitted by Lady Christabel Flight – wife of the right honourable Lord Howard Flight – was deferred at the beginning of the month for further consultation with residents.
That as well as Cala Homes’ proposal for 53 properties at Kiln Lane are expected to be decided by the council’s north area development committee next Wednesday (November 6).
LSAG members said neither applications were needed in Malvern and both targeted areas which were not designated for house building in the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), which outlines planning guidelines in the district until 2030.
Barbara Davies from the group said: “We don’t need these types of houses in Leigh Sinton, we need bungalows as we have a lot of mature adults.
“The Kiln Lane one is far too big. We are just going to become overcome with houses and we haven’t got the roads, GPs, schools or transport facilities. We have two buses twice a week.
“We’ve already lost an orchard after 98 trees were chopped down. What’s going to happen to us all?
“We are just becoming a dormitory for Birmingham and not meeting any of our local needs.”
However the group fear Leigh Sinton is one community among hundreds around the country suffering the same problem – which they believe shows a Government eager for new housing to stabilise the property market and developers all too willing to pick up the baton before council’s have formed their new local plans – like the SWDP – which would allow them to request larger investments from applicants for infrastructure.
Hilary Thompson, from Hop Pole Green and also a member of LSAG, said because the SWDP was still yet to be formally adopted it was being undermined by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which she claimed favoured housing developments despite local feeling.
She added the district council was powerless to represent their electorate and reject planning applications.
“Local authorities are being held over a barrel to permit development.
“Local communities are being ignored when we object, not because we are NIMBYs, because the proposals on the table are bad proposals.
“What is happening with our built environment is one of the most anti-democratic phenomena of modern times.
“We know there must be development but not at any price, and not at the cost of our countryside or communities. The Government must look long and hard at the causes of this mad dash for housing.”